Officials with the proposed Crystal Spring development along Forest Drive in Annapolis said the project is only months away from submitting plans to the city.
And should the continuing care retirement community that would add about 500 homes to the area be approved, it would be a few years before construction started, they said.
Jim Eagan, partner with Crystal Spring Development LLC, said they have been meeting with officials in the city planning department weekly and expect to submit plans to the planning commission in four to five weeks.
A panel discussion Wednesday morning hosted by the Annapolis Economic Development Corp. featured officials associated with the development and attracted more than 100 people.
Some of the main concerns voiced during the question-and-answer session involved the project’s environmental impact and, of course, traffic along the already congested Forest Drive.
Crystal Spring is a planned $325 million development proposed for the area near the intersection of Forest Drive and Spa Road.
It is designed primarily as a 350-home retirement community, including apartments and one-story private and duplex homes. The development also is slated to include about 130 nonage-restricted townhomes.
“What makes this unique is that it is going to be a community-integrated continuing care retirement community,” said Andrew Bing, senior vice president of Kramer and Associates and spokesman for Crystal Spring.
Wellness House, a local organization that provide free services for those dealing with cancer, will be a part of the development, as well as a cultural arts center, upscale grocer, restaurants and a mix of other shops and services, he said.
Larry Bradshaw, chief executive officer of the National Lutheran Communities and Services, said his group has filed permit applications with the state Department of Aging for the retirement community.
He said they will be working in the community through the end of March to gauge people’s interest in living in the new development.
And in March and April workers from the Lutheran organization will then start taking reservations. By about July or August they can then start taking 10 percent deposits on units.
The permitting and approval process from the city would come next.
He said, if the project moves ahead as planned, they could start construction in January 2014 and open the doors in 2016.
Eagan said they are working with city officials on a public transportation plan that could include a loop linking the development to downtown, bike paths and walking trails.
They also just received the transportation study on Monday. The study, commissioned by the city and performed by an outside firm, is the plan for any changes needed to Forest Drive, Spa Road and other area roads.
Bing said the main entrance will be off of Forest Drive across from St. Martin’s church. There also will be an entrance from Spa Road, he said.
Current plans also show an entrance across from Hilltop Drive that will only allow right turns in and out.
“We obviously need to address traffic,” said Bing, who also said he lives in Bay Ridge at the end of Forest Drive. “We’ll be making some improvements to the roads and we hope to add to the improvements the county has already made at Chinquapin on down.”
Eagan said they are committed to traffic improvements on Forest and Spa.
“We’re committed to make it work for everyone,” he said. “To have a choked artery out there doesn’t help us at all.”
But the panel members said they didn’t have any specifics concerning the traffic plan since they just received the plan days ago.
Editor's note: Check back with Greater Annapolis Patch for Part 2, which will discuss the environmental issues involved with the Crystal Spring development.