Rush to annex property ruins plan for peninsulaWe are...


June 09, 1996

Rush to annex property ruins plan for peninsula

We are being faced with a rush to annex property into the city of Annapolis. Five petitions have recently been filed with an additional petition currently under consideration by Annapolis.

These annexation petitions include more than 350 acres, approximately 1,200 housing units and the rezoning of more than 40 acres along the Forest Drive corridor.

The magnitude of these proposals destroys any concept of comprehensive planning for the Annapolis Neck peninsula. In every case filed with the city, these annexations result in increased density over that permitted by the county -- in some cases, significantly increased density.

Yet this increased density is being proposed without the benefit of a comprehensive master plan that includes provisions for both adequate open space as well as developed property. The most recent annexation petition presented to the City Council on May 20 was filed by Bayhouse Partners to annex about 11 acres on the southwest side of Bay Ridge and Edgewood roads. While the petition includes some creative design concepts involving mixed use development, the project is not integrated into a total plan for the peninsula.

With an already traffic-choked Forest Drive, more certainty is needed on the Annapolis Neck in delineating where new development should and should not occur.

State Sen. John Astle and delegates Phillip Bisset, Michael Busch and Virginia Clagett oppose this annexation. Councilman Bill Mulford introduced a resolution to the County Council in opposition to this annexation. The county is also strongly opposing this annexation because of its failure to comply with the county's General Development Plan for Annapolis Neck.

In November 1995, the City Council took a bold step by formally recognizing that Forest Drive is a failing road. In its resolution approving the Forest Drive Corridor Study, the City Council states that this study "is an expression of the city's commitment to develop a carefully balanced strategy intended to orchestrate future growth in a manner consistent with the desires of the community."

This recognition was confirmed by a recent study which found that almost one-quarter of all serious traffic accidents that occurred in Annapolis between July 1 and Dec. 31, 1995 were on Forest Drive. The study concludes that Forest Drive is a very dangerous road. How can Forest Drive handle more than 2,400 additional cars that make multiple trips each day? And this does not even include the additional traffic that will be generated by development that has already been approved, but not yet completed.

The annexation petition filed by Bayhouse Partners will be voted on by the City Council on June 10. Other pending annexation petitions will be considered soon. The decision by the City Council on each of these annexation petitions will affect every person that drives on Forest Drive. It is important that each affected person call or write the mayor and aldermen. Their decision must protect the safety and welfare of the entire community.

Barbara D. Samorajczyk


The writer chairs the planning and zoning committee of the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation.

Why can't we all learn to compromise on issues?

Residents of Anne Arundel County, particularly those who think of Annapolis as its center, cannot help but notice the recent spate of quarrels involving the business community, residents, preservationists, promoters of tourism and various downtown interest groups, not to mention flaps between the city and the county over taxes, zoning issues and educational policies.

Two questions beg to be asked: Are residents and officials of Anne Arundel County more quarrelsome than our counterparts in other places, and does all this arguing lead to useful solutions?

To be effective, a democratic government depends on the ability of its citizens to act on the basis of understanding and agreement rather than force. The assumption that people are capable of dialogue and negotiation, and are generally well disposed toward the common welfare, necessarily underline the workings of democracy. Yet everywhere we look -- not just in Anne Arundel -- there is evidence that our ability to engage in rational dialogue and consensus-building is eroding.

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