On Tuesday, National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS) announced they would be submitting a new Crystal Spring proposal to the City of Annapolis that includes only the senior-related development. While this plan eliminates the previously sought shopping center, large food store, hotel, and 130 non-age restricted homes, they are not guaranteeing that senior housing will be the only development occurring on the site. We are working with the leadership at NLCS to get more details on their proposal, but we have major concerns and have relayed them to NLCS, the mayor and other city officials.
Since NLCS is now planning to acquire only about 48 acres of the 111 acres at Crystal Spring, there is nothing that would prevent the owner of the remaining 66 acres, or a developer, from trying to develop this remaining land. With this type of piecemeal proposal, the net impacts could be even greater than the massive development previously proposed for Crystal Spring. We would be forced to come back and fight the development all over again. Until we can be assured that all development rights on the 66 acres will be extinguished, we are no better off — and may well in fact be worse off — than we would have been with the original development plan.
As NLCS seeks to win public support for their new plan at Crystal Spring, we’ve presented them with the following list of six major concerns that need to be addressed before we can even consider withdrawing opposition. This list was also shared with City officials and the attorney for the property’s owner, Janet Richardson-Pearson, as some of these items will require their cooperation and involvement:
1. Extinguish all development rights on remaining 66 acres at Crystal Spring
2. Reduce footprint of NLCS development – clearing 27 acres of Priority Forest for approximately 400 units is still unacceptable
3. Replace all trees cleared on at least a one-to-one basis, on the site
4. Manage all stormwater on the 48-acre site with a plan guaranteeing no net increase in the rate, volume or pollutant loads from a 20-year storm event
5. Finalize exact location and terms with stringent development restrictions for the required 75-acre conservation easement on the adjoining Mas-Que Farm property
6. Resolve construction of the parallel (to Forest Drive) connector road and cost-sharing to pay for it
Our goal from the beginning has always been to protect the forests, wetlands, and meadows of Crystal Spring from destruction, not only because of the environmental implications, but also to maintain the quality of life for residents who live along this peninsula and suffer from dangerous overcrowding of our roads and schools. We will continue to use every avenue available to achieve this.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead