Before you vote in the City election on Tuesday, November 7th, please take a moment to learn where the candidates stand on the development of Crystal Spring, as well as protecting our forests from development and our schools from overcrowding. This questionnaire was submitted to all candidates for mayor and aldermen and consisted of four yes or no questions of interest to all of us regarding the Crystal Spring development and responsible growth.
Our group is apolitical and does not endorse candidates, but we want you to know where the candidates stand on the issues of concern to you.
The questions are listed below followed by the responses we have received. Please note that despite repeated requests, some candidates chose not to respond. If we receive additional responses in the coming days, they will be added.
1. If elected, would you support and work to preserve and protect Crystal Spring from development, either through the purchase of all 111 acres at Crystal Spring in fee simple using state Program Open Space funds and other funds to fairly compensate the owner, or through the purchase of a conservation easement to fairly compensate the owner while allowing her the use and enjoyment of the property? (Both of these purchases would include extinguishing development rights at Mas Que Farm, while keeping the ownership the same).
2. If it is not possible to purchase Crystal Spring in fee simple or under a conservation easement, if elected, would you support limiting development of the entire 179 acre Crystal Spring/Mas Que Farm property to the 140 housing units allowed under the City’s Comprehensive Plan including any senior housing, while also preventing any commercial/retail development on the site?
3. If elected, would you support and work to enact an ordinance that would require a 100% reforestation requirement for any trees and forests cleared in all developments so that such reforestation occurred on site or on nearby land?
4. If elected, would you support and work to enact an ordinance that would parallel the County adequate public facilities ordinance and mandate that when any public schools—elementary, middle, or high schools—are at 100% of state-rated capacity, no new non-age restricted residential developments of four or more units may be approved for six years or until the school overcrowding is remedied?
- Michael Pantelides* (R) (Incumbent): Yes to all four with a qualifier for #2: “I have supported limited development on the entire site Crystal Springs/Mas Que Farm site. That was part of my 2013 campaign platform, that has remained my position during my time as Mayor and remains my position today. My answer would be yes to significantly limiting development, however we do not know what limited development form that will be.”
- Gavin Buckley** (D): Yes to all four, and included the following statement: “I oppose the current plans for Crystal Spring. There is too much uncertainty about the environmental and traffic impacts – especially if we don’t know what will happen with the adjacent tract of land. The Crystal Spring development was a pivotal issue in the last mayoral campaign – and I can’t believe we’re still talking about it today four years later. We need leadership not waffling. The City of Annapolis simply must have a clearer, more consistent process for approving or denying plans.
As mayor, I’ll ensure we have a clear process with strict environmental standards. Developers will know the rules and I’ll make sure they follow the rules – we have not followed the current Comprehensive Plan, which is why we are in this mess. When we rewrite the Comprehensive Plan in 2018 we will adhere any development to standards we can all be proud of. Responsible growth can help revitalize Annapolis but poorly planned development can harm our community. I’ll evaluate all proposals through the lens of three key priorities:
– The character of our community
– The impact to our environment
– The benefit to our local economy”
*Endorsed by Anne Arundel County Chapter, League of Conservation Voters
**Endorsed by Anne Arundel Group, Sierra Club
WARD ONE ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Larry Claussen (R): Yes to all four
- Eleanor “Elly” Tierney (D): Yes to all four
WARD TWO ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Frederick M. Paone (R) (Incumbent): Yes to all four
- Kurt Riegel*** (D): Yes to all four
WARD THREE ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Rhonda Pindell Charles (D) (Incumbent): Did not respond
WARD FOUR ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Sheila M. Finlayson (D) (Incumbent): Did not respond
- Toni Strong Pratt (D): Yes to all four (candidate is the focus of a write-in campaign)
WARD FIVE ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- James Appel (R): Yes to all four
- Marc Rodriguez*** (D): Yes to all four
WARD SIX ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Shaneka Henson*** (D): Did not respond
WARD SEVEN ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Robert Savidge*** (D): Yes to all four
- David Frankel (R): Yes to all four, but noted that he would allow commercial/retail development on the site if allowed under the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which it is.
WARD EIGHT ALDERMANIC CANDIDATES:
- Ross Arnett*** (D): Yes to all four
- Julie Mussog (R): Yes to #1, #3, and #4; Did not respond to #2, but noted: “I support limiting the development to the extent of the city code. I would also support revisiting the city code and a comprehensive review of that code.”
***Endorsed by Anne Arundel County Chapter, League of Conservation Voters and Anne Arundel Group, Sierra Club
Click here to see the signed questionnaires from those candidates who were elected in November.
6 thoughts on “CITY CANDIDATES’ POSITIONS ON CRYSTAL SPRING DEVELOPMENT AND RESPONSIBLE GROWTH”
Thanks for your hard work for all of us and especially Annapolis.
Very disappointing that most of those running would not comment on your questions. Leaves me to believe that they do not want their thoughts, ideas to be known and in writing. I would very much like to vote democratic but none gave firm answers. So like politicians, again very disappointing.
I just read the answers to your questions by Marc Rodriguez. He doesn’t support Crystal Springs. Today in the mail I received a letter from his opponent, James Appel. It says in reference to Mr. Rodriguez, “In fact, he supports the Crystal Springs development.” That is untrue. I don’t care what Mr. Appel’s views are on Crystal Springs or any other issue, I will not vote someone who runs a negative campaign and spreads untruths about his opponent. Much as I hate to use the term the leader of his party throws around everyday, it seems appropriate. Mr. Appel is engaging in FAKE NEWS about Mr. Rodriguez.
Why is this even an issue ? The area can not sustain this kind of development. We need a balance of development to open space . We have alredy tipped the scales in the wrong direction . as our traffic flow or lack thereof can attest .
You would be hard pressed to find anyone in favor of the Crystal Spring development that actually lives along Forest Drive. Seems the only people in favor of this horrific project are the people who stand to benefit financially – follow the money, as the old saying goes. Neither Pantelides nor Buckley is taking a firm stance against the proposed development. If we had the choice of a 3rd candidate (and they were willing to stop the project) I’m willing to bet they would be elected. Pantelides ran on a campaign promise to stop the development – but clearly that was an outright lie. Buckley seems ready to take away all the City Dock parking in order to make it a “green space” but that would make an already awful parking situation go from bad to worse and could decimate downtown businesses. Seems there is no “lesser of the two evils” choice for us Annapolitans in the upcoming mayoral election.
The Crystal Spring Development and the position taken by most local politicians is to be expected. Politicians all want more power and Crystal Spring is simply a growth of their power. Unfortunately, the average voter cannot stop the onslaught. Hillsmere will eventually be annexed. Thus its homeowners will experience the advantage of an added City Real Estate Tax plus more traffic congestion and crime.
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