The Capital: “Annapolis Planners to Providence Point: More Trees”

Capital Gazette: July 26, 2019

By: Naomi Harris, Capital Gazette reporter

Annapolis city planners have sent back initial plans for a proposed senior living development on Forest Drive with 50 requests for changes or revisions, the first response to the plan since it was submitted earlier this year.

The five pages of notes on the Village at Providence Point focus on environmental concerns, and in many cases the planners are asking developer National Lutheran Communities and Services to redraw their plans to save more trees.

Tom Smith, chief of currently planning, compiled a review of environmental comments and sent it to National Lutheran on June 12.

The review asked that the project “seamlessly balance environmental preservation and sustainability with the built environment for a senior care facility,” according to the city document.

With a range of general to very specific requests, the review included comments such as:

  • Readjusting construction for better tree preservation,
  • Revising the road alignment to decrease tree disturbance,
  • Providing further details on the storm water management design and its impact on the watershed.

Larry Bradshaw, president and CEO of the nonprofit developer, said that because city forestation laws have changed and amended filing will address “1:1 reforestation requirement and the 125% storm water management.”

“In reviewing the preliminary comments, our team didn’t find anything that was troublesome or out of the ordinary. We continue to have positive follow-up conversations with the City and anticipate addressing these comments with our next submission,” Bradshaw said.

Environmental advocates have expressed frustration at the initial proposal after meeting with Planning and Zoning officials, Bradshaw and members of the project team to go over concerns.

Gerald Winegrad, who heads the volunteer organization Stop Crystal Springs, said that two meetings in July and September of last year were spent going over the project and environmental advocates asking for the following: forest clearing to be reduced from 30 acres to below 20 acres with 100% of forest cleared to be replanted on site, no increase in the rate, volume or pollutant of storm water flowing from the site for a 20-year-storm event, comprehensive conservation easement and traffic improvements.

But when the nonprofit developer submitted a proposal in January, Winegrad said it “felt like a kick in the teeth” because the issues brought up were ignored, he said.

“No matter what we do, they continue to ignore this,” he said.

Smith said the consultants with the nonprofit developer are working to address the comments.

He expects to finish reviewing code compliance, site design and architecture by the end of the month.

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