Annapolis plan consensus reached

December 18, 1992|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

A committee of Annapolis business leaders and residents, after nearly three years of wrangling over the future of the city's historic downtown, reached a hard-fought consensus yesterday on a 300-page comprehensive plan.

Even as the group tried to approve the final document, however, members continued to voice conflicting interests that threatened unravel the compromises worked out over many meetings.

At stake are millions in tourist dollars and something much harder to quantify -- the historic city's unique identity and charm.

The three dozen members of the committee that drafted the Ward One Sector Study had at least as many opinions on what the historic district should look like in the future.

Yesterday, they agreed on a fundamental policy statement that the long-range plan should preserve Annapolis as a "working" port city. But members argued over photographs, substituted "residents" for "citizens" in one section and took out the word "retail" in another as the meeting stretched well past two hours.

Larry Vincent, owner of Laurance Clothing at the top of Main Street, objected to the cover of the final report, which shows two sailboats docked at the harbor, a kiosk and shoppers strolling through a waterside park.

"This is the symbol of the vision of this document," he said, pointing to the sketch of the harbor. "I'm concerned about having more of an integrated marketing approach, rather than pagodas and fake ships."

He and Penny Chandler, executive director of the Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, persuaded the consultant working on the report to remove a recommendation to let vendors line the waterfront.

Some members called for having a "working harbor," with watermen and paddle boats competing for space. City Administrator Michael Mallinoff pointed out their vision was "yuppified" compared with the not-so-distant past, when Annapolis was a down-at-the-heels fishing village and not a tourist town.

The committee agreed to finish submitting comments by Jan. 7 and hand the document over to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission for review Jan. 28.

Among the key recommendations in the report, which struggles to balance the interests of the residents and merchants in downtown Annapolis, are:

* Replacing metered parking at City Dock with a small garage and turning the area near the harbor into a park.

* Reducing downtown traffic congestion by altering bus routes, running more frequent downtown shuttles and better managing downtown parking with a new transportation agency.

The committee also proposed several possible traffic patterns for the historic district, including reversing the traffic direction on Main Street to head toward the dock, or making it a two-way street, or making Duke of Gloucester a two-way street.

* Zoning changes to preserve residential "neighborhoods at risk."

* Longer off-street parking hours in exchange for higher fees in residential area.

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