ACTION NEEDED: Express Input on Legislative Items Before the City Council

Oppose Changes to Fee-in-Lieu-of-Replanting; Support School Overcrowding Ordinance

Please help us by sending a note to the Mayor and Council through our website on these two legislative issues:

1. Oppose R-49-18 to Reduce the Fee-in-Lieu of Replanting:
This legislation threatens our ability to make sure the Crystal Spring developers are forced to replant trees cleared acre for acre. On November 19, we helped gain passage of a No Net Loss ordinance by the City that will require developers to replant 100% of forest cleared, including all forest taken down at Crystal Spring. We worked closely with council members and organized support for the legislation. Despite developers’ opposition, the law passed in good shape and applies to Crystal Spring. This was a huge win for our organization and for our fight as the developers had been refusing to keep their pledge to replant 100%. We are grateful to Mayor Buckley and the seven of eight aldermen who supported its passage, especially Alderman Rob Savidge, who led the charge.

However, we have one more hurdle to secure this victory. One alderperson has introduced R-49-18, which would reduce the fee-in- lieu-of replanting from $10 to $1 per square foot. If this legislation passes, it will make it immensely easier for developers to clear forest without replanting, including the forest at Crystal Spring. Please express your opposition to R-49-18!

2. Support O-8-18 City School Overcrowding Ordinance:
This law would strengthen the City’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance as it applies to schools. It would temporarily restrict development when our schools have reached capacity and can no longer accommodate new students. The City first passed its APFO in 2016, but it was so weakened by amendments that it was rendered practically meaningless. Instead of restricting development when schools are at 100% of state-rated capacity as the County has for decades, the City’s APFO required elementary/middle schools to reach 105% and the high school to reach an astonishing 120%. This means schools like Hillsmere Elementary and Annapolis High that are closed to county developments have been forced to continue accepting more students from city developments. More students have been forced to attend classes in temporary trailer classrooms.

The Mayor and five of eight sitting aldermen (Tierney, Arnett, Savidge, Rodriguez, and Paone) signed our candidate questionnaire during the election and pledged to strengthen the ordinance if elected.
The new ordinance (O-8-18) as proposed does not match this pledge, so we are urging the Council to make these two important amendments. Amendment #1: O-8-18 reduces the threshold to 95% for all schools (elementary, middle and high). The capacity threshold issue has been complicated by the fact that the County recently passed a temporary measure to reduce their threshold to 95%. However, this will sunset after three years or when they pass the County General Development Plan and the county law will go back to 100%. 95% vs. 100% is irrelevant for City feeder schools, so we are urging the Council to keep it simple and pass the ordinance as pledged–at 100%. Amendment #2: The other major difference between O-8-18 and the county APFO is the applicability of the ordinance. O-8-18 is weaker than the county law because it only applies to developments of 11 or more, rather than developments of four or more. Thus, we are also asking the Council to amend O-8-18 to bring it in line with county law and make it applicable to developments of four or more units.

There are no non-senior homes planned anymore at Crystal Spring, but this legislation will be important for other future development proposals in the city. Please express your support for O-8-18 and ask the officials mentioned above to keep their campaign promise.