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Fate of Quiet Waters Development Remains Uncertain

Annapolis' Board of Appeals takes public testimony, but declines to make decision about the proposed 156-unit development off Annapolis Neck Road.

Residents spent more than four hours Tuesday night asking the city of Annapolis' Board of Appeals (BOA) to delay, modify or reject the proposed development of 39 acres adjacent to Quiet Waters Park.

But before public testimony could begin, attorney Jerome Feldman, representing the developer, said he believed most of the testimony from the public would go beyond the scope of the board's jurisdiction.

Feldman said, "Any testimony related anything other than Chapter 21 would lack relevance."

Chapter 21 is a zoning code "adopted for the purpose of promoting the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Annapolis," according to city documents.

BOA chair Christian Elkington said he would note the objection, but he felt it was important to hear what the public had to say, especially given the strong emotions of several audience members.

"The BOA is well versed in what testimony is relevant to the board, and what weight that testimony will be given," Elkington said. "I think it’s the only way to get a complete record before the Board of Appeals."

Annapolis Environmental Commission Chair Diane Butler spoke first.

Her two main points—which fall within the jurisdiction of the board—were: The development was not named specifically in the Annapolis Comprehensive Plan, and the development would cut down enough trees to harm the city's goal of achieving a 50 percent tree canopy by 2036.

"The impact of clearing over 12 acres of forest on that site is very significant because the city doesn’t have a lot of other space to increase the tree canopy elsewhere," Butler said. 

Feldman cross examined Butler after she spoke, and the exchange quickly grew heated. He repeatedly asked her if she had read the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

"The report recommendation to this board by the Planning Commission and the report recommendation by the Planning Board both indicated that it meets guidelines and was in the plan," Feldman said.

The Planning Commission approved the the Reserve at Quiet Waters in September 2011 with 48 conditions.

Butler responded that she disagreed with the findings of the Planning Commission on the matter.

She said several audience members helped to develop the city's Comprehensive Plan, and she assured Feldman that they did not intend for there to be a development of this scale on the property.

A number of people who spoke voiced concerns about how the development would impact the bird population in Quiet Waters Park. 

Ross Geredien, an environmental scientists specializing in landscape ecology, said that forested buffers along the edge of the park contribute to the breeding success of several species of birds that currently call Quiet Waters Park home.

Other concerns were raised about quality of life issues once the new homes were filled with new families.

Janet Norman lives on Annapolis Neck Road, which would become the main exit for the proposed development.

She said the intersection of Annapolis Neck Road and Forest Drive already makes for a "death defying" turn, and she thinks a traffic light is absolutely necessary before anyone moves in.

Norman also said she worried about the children in the new community being slated to attend .

"The county council has closed the school district for development," Norman said. "You’re placing 600 people into the Hillsmere school district that is already over capacity."

The BOA said a decision will be announced at a hearing tentatively scheduled for the end of June. 

In addition to the appeal filed with the BOA, an appeal has also been filed with the Building Board of Appeals because environmentalists argue that the Southwest portion of the development would be built on a priority forest area.

A hearing for that appeal has yet to be scheduled.

Maureen June 07, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Can we just stop build more anything in the Annapolis Neck area? Can we? I already have deer and fox in my small town home community, surely ousted from the woods where the CVS now resides...stop the madness, keep some green!
Ted Weber June 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Why was the developer's lawyer, Jerry Feldman, allowed to cross-examine members of the public? That sounds like pretty dodgy procedure, especially considering the public did not have a similar opportunity to challenge the developer during their 2.5 hour presentation.
Tom Dooley June 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I guess the deer and the fox didn't live in the woods that were there before your home was built Maureen?
Anna Staver (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Good question; thanks for the comment, Ted! The developer's lawyer was not permitted to cross-examine members of the public. He could ask questions of Diane Butler because she spoke on behalf of an organization. BOA chair Christian Elkington clarified this point during the meeting.
Leslie Sparks June 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I can't imagine having anymore traffic down Forest Dr,
Steffani mykins June 08, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Why are we allowing them to build without an agreement to build an addition to the school. There is absolutely no way Hillsmere Elem can support all those new families. Other parts of the county have made it a requirement?
Toni Thalenberg June 16, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I can't imagine a more cavalier approach to our environment that the proposal for Quiet Waters development. Astonishing in this day and age, when our natural surroundings, already so deeply compromised, are being set upon again. Appalling, and I will do everything I can to defeat the proposal. Toni Thalenberg
Beverly Radespiel July 11, 2012 at 03:15 AM
This development is INSANE and a real testament to the GREED and lack of concern the developers have for our community. I went to one of the Planning Commission meetings and was sickened by the dressed up pack of attack dogs who came to push this project. They brought in their "arborist" and tried to make it sound like they were doing the community a favor by building there! Get a clue. If this is such a wonderful thing...go build it in YOUR back yard!!! Hopefully, you won't have to deal with a horrendous traffic issue, overcrowded schools and the ruination of a beautiful park like WE do!!!
Betty Santin July 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM
There's already a lot of congestion and traffic coming down Forest Drive. Do we want a 6-lane highway built to accomadate or sit in traffic to get home? Also do we want to live in a concrete world? Consider the environment, money for construction for sewer, water, power, who will pay? Annapolis was an attractive, small, relatively quite town with just enought to do to make it fun. Now its so crowded with not enought places to park that it's rare for me to visit downtown. We're going to be like rats overunning our great town. We must think about aesthetics, what makes a town pleasant and desirable.

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