Crystal Spring Development Plans Grossly Fail to Meet Stormwater Pollution Laws

Polluted Stormwater Would Further Degrade Crab Creek and South River

The control of polluted stormwater from the Crystal Spring development continues to be a major concern surrounding the proposed destruction of 30-acres of mature forest on a 35-acre footprint.  The development site for the senior community now called The Village at Providence Point flows directly into Crab Creek, which is already one of the two most polluted tributaries of the South River due to stormwater runoff from developed land.

Since 2013, developers have consistently pledged that all new stormwater from the development would be retained or treated on site to eliminate any increase in rate, volume, or pollutant loads. Remarkably, not only did the developers fail to live up to this pledge, they failed to meet the minimum requirements of state and city stormwater management laws!

National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS) filed plans with the City of Annapolis on January 22, 2019 to build 303 senior homes and apartments and 48 assisted living units on the Crystal Spring property. City planners completed the first round of their review in June with five pages of comments on the environmental aspects of the plan, and are still working on two more rounds of comments on Code compliance, design, and architecture. The environmental comments pointed out major deficiencies in the plans, including the failure to meet stormwater requirements. This is but one reason why the City sent the plans back to the developers to make changes.

We retained one of the best stormwater management experts in Maryland to examine the site and plans for stormwater management. Daniel J. O’Leary, P.E., concurred with the city staff’s findings and pointed out other major deficiencies. Click here to read Mr. O’Leary’s full report.

In his report on stormwater plans for The Village at Providence Point, Mr. O’Leary concluded that:

“It is my opinion with reasonable engineering certainty that The Village at Providence Point development stormwater management documents do not meet the requirements for stormwater management (SWM) concept approval based on a failure to meet the minimum State of Maryland requirements found in the 2000 Maryland Stormwater Design Manual (MDE, 2000 with amendments in 2009), the City of Annapolis stormwater requirements, and the additional protection for Crab Creek promised by the developer.”

Stormwater runoff from development is the #1 pollution source impairing water quality in Crab Creek and the South River. The development would replace 30-acres of forest with impervious surfaces for new roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and buildings. Environmental site design is required by state law to eliminate any increase in rate, volume, or pollutant loads from stormwater flows “to the maximum extent practicable”. Unfortunately, the developers interpreted this to mean only treating/retaining on site the first two inches of a storm event. This is unacceptable.

It is essential that the law and the developer’s pledge be met to eliminate any increase in rate, volume, or pollutant loads from stormwater flows from the property. And this should be done for at least a 20-year storm event which is becoming much more common.

Our consultant’s comments and those of city staff do much to reach this pledged goal. They note the failure of the developers to meet the City’s requirement that 125% of stormwater flows be managed or treated beyond minimum requirements. The City is pushing the use of green roofs, moving and even removing some buildings to reduce forest clearing and impervious surfaces, and remediation of existing polluting and degraded stormwater channels on the 175-acre site. The City noted: “Please review possible on-site and off-site (drainage through the site) remedies to the current failing outfalls from the school site and the Newtowne site. Improving these failing scenarios will greatly assist in overall watershed improvement.”

At the Planning Commission work session for this project last September, Chairman Waldman mentioned previous pledges to fix stormwater channels running across Mas Que Farm from Spa Road and along the western edge of the property nearest to Newtowne 20. GreenVest had initially been contracted by the developers to do the restoration work.  This restoration work was ignored in the developer’s filings.

Note: This is the third post in a series focusing on where we stand on our four major issues of concern with the Providence Point development plan at Crystal Spring. Click here to read our first post on traffic. Click here to read our second post on reducing forest clearing and ensuring 100% reforestation.

These shortcomings, confirmed by the City, mean the development is far from approval as the City has further concerns over Code compliance, design, and architecture which are not yet finalized. Despite the failure to gain city approval and some major changes dictated by the City, NLCS continues an aggressive marketing and sales program aimed at seniors. NLCS is soliciting deposits to assure seniors “Priority” in choosing units that are not yet approved. NLCS asserts claims the units will be ready for occupancy in 2023. Previously, they had said they would ready be in 2014. This has been causing confusion in area seniors as the project is not close to final City approval.

See Also:
Crystal Spring Development Plans Dead in the Water, July 2019
Newly Filed Plans are an Epic Disappointment – Read our Letter to the Developers, February 2019