Annapolis annexes site on Bay Ridge Move is first step for development plan

June 11, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Disregarding recent opposition from Anne Arundel County officials, the Annapolis City Council approved last night a proposal to annex 11.3 wooded acres in the Annapolis Neck Peninsula.

The 7-2 vote will likely pave the way for developer Bayhouse Partners to build 50 single-family homes and some commercial establishments in the area, provided the necessary zoning changes are approved. Last night's vote came after several council members promised to carefully study future proposals to annex county land in an already traffic-choked Forest Drive corridor.

During the past year, the issue of annexation has infuriated many Annapolis Neck residents opposed to development. But yesterday's council action seemed to provide the first sign of hope that all sides -- Annapolis Neck residents and city and county officials -- were finally in agreement.

"I really believe we're making steps," said Barbara Samorajcyzyk, a member of the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation of 41 community groups, which has urged city and county officials to halt development and annexation.

"They are little steps," Samorajcyzyk said. "But the awareness has been raised over the failure of the roads in the area to handle much more development. The county is here and they're willing to negotiate. I'm very pleased."

Although the County Council recently passed a resolution urging the city to refrain from annexing any more land, city and county officials said they were willing to meet to find solutions to the congestion problem.

The city is reviewing five petitions for annexation, which includes more than 350 acres that could be zoned for about 1,200 to 1,400 housing units.

County officials, who attended last night's meetings, went one step further on the need to cooperate by pledging $15,000 to the city's current $68,000 study of the Forest Drive Corridor study.

"The fight never materialized," said Jon L. Arason, deputy director of the city planning and zoning department, referring to much-publicized opposition to annexation. "We know we're going to annex property and despite what everybody is saying, we've been methodically studying this issue. We're quietly trying to do the right thing."

While city officials say annexing land will increase tax revenues, critics counter that any additional development is too much for an area that depends on Forest Drive as the main access road for commuters and local motorists.

The city must wait another 45 days before it can take up zoning classifications for the annexed wooded land southwest of Bay Ridge and Edgewood roads.

Along with Alderman Dean L. Johnson, a Ward 2 Independent, the only alderman to vote against the annexation was Samuel Gilmer, who voiced concern about the impact of 50 residential homes on neighborhood schools.

"When we add these particular units, we still have schools supported by the county," said Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat in his first appearance at the council since quadruple bypass surgery in May.

But other city officials were quick to point out that annexation of the Bay Ridge site would not increase the amount of construction that would be permitted under the county's general development plan and would have little impact on schools.

Pub Date: 6/11/96

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