This spring the City finally began work on a Forest Drive/Eastport Sector Study, which will use extensive citizen input to develop guidelines that will determine future zoning and development in this overcrowded corridor.
The Sector Study is to be a mirror image of the expressed concerns and desires of the communities interested in and affected by what happens in the Forest Drive corridor. The two primary opportunities for public input so far were an online public survey and the first public meeting held in September. More than 1,000 citizens have provided comments or otherwise influenced the Sector Study in a variety of ways. The City Planning and Zoning Department has hired a planning consultant to help develop the findings, vision, and recommendations to implement them.
The results of the first survey overwhelmingly show that people who live here are most concerned about traffic, overcrowding, and the environment. The policy identification phase, which involves synthesizing all of the input gathered, is the next step. Lists of issues raised by public comments have been assembled to begin identifying specific solutions.
The City’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan called for such a sector study to be completed by 2012. Unfortunately, many developments have been approved since then leading to more traffic and school overcrowding problems and environmental degradation. Currently, at least 1,100 more housing units and 190,000 sq. ft. of commercial developments are underway or planned for the Annapolis Neck corridor (see map below).
It is simply backwards to allow any significant developments to proceed in the Forest Drive corridor until this study is completed and its recommendations are implemented. If the City is going to continue to process and possibly approve developments, including the massive Crystal Spring project, before the Sector Study is even completed, it is hard to envision what good the sector study will do.
We are urging the incoming administration to take this opportunity for a fresh start and to keep their promise to bring changes to the development process in Annapolis, starting with the Sector Study. No prospective or pending development is close to the size of Crystal Spring and this project and all others of more than 4 lots and 10,000 sq. ft. of commercial/retail development should be suspended until the sector study is completed and its recommendations are implemented.
Please get involved in this effort. Contact Mayor-elect Gavin Buckley and your alderman and urge them to make this an immediate priority when they get into office. Also, please continue to stay engaged in the Sector Study process. This is your opportunity to tell the City what you want this corridor to look like in the future. Even if you don’t live in the city, you are encouraged to participate. Click here to take the second survey available online now and save the date to attend the second public meeting, which will be held on December 12 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center.
Also, click here to read our full set of comments and recommendations for the Sector Study as delivered to City staff and their consultant team.