Most Eastport residents have enthusiastically embraced a plan to preserve the historic character of their quaint Annapolis neighborhood, but some complain that they haven't been given much information about the zoning changes.
The residents spoke at a City Council hearing Monday night. The plan was sponsored by Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, who ironed out details with the help of city planners during the last two years.
The proposal is designed to save the 100-year-old working-class, maritime community bounded by Sixth Street and Horn Point, located just across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis. The council could approve it as soon as Nov. 19.
Moyer said that 80 percent of the homes built in the neighborhood in the 1890s still exist.
In 1978, the city adopted a new zoning code that created larger lots and required homes to be built farther back from streets.
That meant that older homes that burned or were demolished couldn't be rebuilt, Moyer said.
The new zoning proposal, called the Residential Conservation Overlay District, would allow the older homes to conform to the zoning code, which would mean the homes could be expanded or rebuilt.
Moyer said the plan would help prevent the replacement of older Eastport homes with modern houses.
The plan would also restore balance to streets, requiring homes to be set back an average distance from the road and giving the city greater control over the design of facades and the size of new homes.
The Department of Planning and Zoning and the independent Planning and Zoning Commission both favor the plan, as did most residents who spoke out Monday night.
"I think it will go a long way toward preserving the character of our community," said resident Robert Slawson.
Resident Al Luckenbach, who spoke in favor of the plan, said he did a survey of old homes when he moved to Eastport six years ago. "The disheartening thing about making such a survey is that in the short time we've been there, we've had to watch them leave one by one," he said.
But Marita Carroll, a parishioner of Mt. Zion Church on Second Street and whose mother lives in the neighborhood, said residents hadn't had much of a chance to learn about how the plan would affect their homes.
"We're really concerned about the lack of knowledge of this ordinance," she said.