WHO WE ARE
We are a diverse group of citizens and organization leaders in the Annapolis area concerned about the massive and destructive development planned for the Crystal Spring property at the congested area of Forest Drive and Spa Road. Our opposition is based mainly on the adverse impact that a large-scale development would have on traffic, the environment and our quality of life.
For almost 10 years, we have been leading the opposition against developers’ plans to build a monstrous mixed-use development. In January 2017, National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS), one of the three development partners involved in the original mixed-use proposal for Crystal Spring, announced that the partnership was dissolved and that they would be submitting a stand-alone proposal to build only the continuing care retirement community, now renamed the Village at Providence Point.
While the NLCS proposal does not include the commercial, retail and non-age restricted housing from the original proposal for Crystal Spring, it is still the largest development ever proposed in the City of Annapolis and rivals the size the Towne Centre. The plan would clear 30 acres of mature Priority Forest to build 303 independent living units and 48 assisted living units.
NLCS anticipates at least 500 new residents. Traffic improvements need to be agreed upon to ensure the current issues with the intersections along this corridor are not exacerbated. Also, the destruction of such a large block of mature, contiguous forest could cause extensive stormwater runoff issues and detrimentally affect air and water quality.
NLCS filed their most recent proposal with the City in January 2019. We and city planners have prodded the developers for years to meet or exceed all state and local environmental laws, yet their new plans failed to meet even the minimum requirements of the city and state Forest Conservation Acts and Stormwater Laws. The January filings were so far off from meeting current basic environmental laws and requirements, it took Planning and Zoning (P&Z) until June 12, 2019 to complete just one aspect of its legally mandated review. That review was confined exclusively to the environmental problems with the plans and resulted in five pages of single-spaced comments requiring major changes to the development proposal. Many of these changes will result in significant increases in the cost of the project while potentially eliminating some of the units for sale. This is only the first part of the review. P&Z has advised the developers that their next two phases of comments will be directed at City Code compliance and site design, then architecture. As of August 2019, they are still conducting their review.
Not only did NLCS fail to meet city and state laws with their January filing; they completely disregarded the concerns of local residents. In face-to-face meetings, as well as repeated electronic communications, our group (Concerned Citizens for Proper Land Use/Stop Crystal Spring) presented city planners and NLCS with four major issues that still remain unresolved:
1. Forest clearing must be reduced from 30 acres to below 20 acres at a minimum (to comply with the June 12, 2019 Planning and Zoning directives) and 100% of forest cleared must be replanted on site;
2. There must be no increase in the rate, volume, or pollutant load of stormwater flowing from the site for a 20-year storm event;
3. There must be agreement on a comprehensive conservation easement with terms that would extinguish all development rights outside the 351 senior units and protect all remaining and replanted forest while allowing for a new Wellness House and equestrian related structures; and
4. Traffic improvements must include commitments for the construction of a long-planned parallel road connecting the development on the west with Skipper Lane which would give senior residents direct access to the shopping center, eliminating the need to use Forest Drive and Spa Road for these trips.
Our goal from the beginning, as seen in our original mission statement below, has always been to protect the forests, wetlands, and meadows of Crystal Spring from destruction, not only because of the environmental implications, but also to maintain the quality of life for residents who live along this peninsula and suffer from dangerous overcrowding of our roads. We will continue to use every avenue available to achieve this.
WHAT WE SEEK…
We urge that all efforts be made to preserve and protect Crystal Spring in its entirety through purchase of the property using state and local funding through Program Open Space to justly compensate the owner and permanently protect the land. If this cannot be accomplished, we urge that a conservation easement be purchased to protect and preserve the land while fairly compensating the owner and allowing her use and enjoyment of the property.
Should such acquisition not prove possible, we support a significant downsizing of the proposed development. Besides moving all development to the north closest to Forest Drive, all of the non-senior related development should be eliminated so as to minimize traffic issues, reduce the destruction of mature forest, and prevent further school overcrowding. We urge that all forest cleared be replaced on site or on adjoining properties on at least a one-to-one basis; all wetlands and 100 foot buffers be protected; and a comprehensive stormwater management plan be required guaranteeing a no net increase in the rate, volume or pollutants from the site after a 20-year storm event. Lastly, we urge that a permanent conservation easement extinguishing all development rights be placed on all undeveloped acreage at Crystal Spring and the adjoining Mas-Que Farm.
Endorsements of Crystal Spring Opposition Effort
Former Governor Parris Glendening (1995-2003)
Ellen Moyer, Former Mayor, City of Annapolis (2001-2009)
Gerald W. Winegrad, Former State Senator (1983-1995)
C. Richard Damato, Former State Delegate (1999-2003)
Barbara Samorajczyk, Former Anne Arundel County Councilmember (1998-2006)
Chuck Ferrar, Former Anne Arundel County Councilmember (2009-2010); Forest Drive Business Owner
Gene M. Ransom III, Former Queen Anne’s County Commissioner (2002-2010)
James Urban, Former Member, Annapolis City Planning Commission; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects
Rob Schnabel*, Former Chair, Annapolis Environmental Commission; Watershed Restoration Scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Suzanne Pogell, Former Chair, Annapolis Environmental Commission; President, Womanship, Inc.
David Prosten, Former Chair, Anne Arundel Sierra Club
Arthur Scott Mobley, President, Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation
Anastasia Hopkinson, Vice President, Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation
Russell B. Stevenson, Jr.*, Chairman and Founder, Chesapeake Legal Alliance
Evan K. Thalenberg, President, Chesapeake BaySavers
Fred Kelly, Severn RIVERKEEPER®
Frederick Tutman, Patuxent RIVERKEEPER & CEO
Diana Muller, Former RIVERKEEPER
Dr. Marilynn Katatsky, Former Board Member, South River Federation
Kent McNew*, Board Member, South River Federation
Lynne Rockenbauch, Former President, Severn River Association
Barbara K. Johnson, Former President, Anne Arundel Bird Club
Ray Sullivan, Save Your Annapolis Neck
Gwen Azama, Save Your Annapolis Neck
William Small, Anne Arundel Green Party
Ann M. Fligsten, Coordinator, Growth Action Network Of Anne Arundel County
Marcia Verploegen Lewis*, Board Member, Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Michael Murdoch (Retired), Founding Superintendent, Quiet Waters Park (1990-2012)
J. Elizabeth (Beth) Garraway*, PhD, Former Board Member, Maryland League of Conservation Voters; President Emerita, Maryland Independent College and University Association
Nancy Plaxico, Member, President’s Council of The Wilderness Society & Board Member, Oyster Harbor Citizens Association
Forrest Mays, Esq.
Christopher L. Beard, Esq.
Jennifer G. Beard
Liz Vanden Heuvel*, Co-Chair, Greater Annapolis Interfaith Network
Rev. Henry Green, Former Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church (1998-2014)
Colonel Fred Gregory, USAF (Ret.), Former Astronaut and NASA Deputy Administrator
Jane W. McWilliams, Historian; Author of “Annapolis, City on the Severn” (2011)
Michael Long, Secretary*, BayWoods Cooperative Housing Corporation
*Does not necessarily represent endorsement of affiliated organization