Chief planner wins praise for legacy Exit to California for city's Fogarty ends 13-year tenure

'One of a kind'

Achievements include renewal project work, maritime zoning plan

September 23, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

A story in Monday's Anne Arundel edition of the Sun incorrectly identified the party affiliation of Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins. Hopkins is a Democrat.

The Sun regrets the error.

For more than a decade, through three administrations, Eileen P. Fogarty led an award-winning planning and zoning department through a minefield of issues that changed the face of Annapolis.

She left last week to take a similar job in Santa Cruz., Calif., with praise from critics and supporters for her work over the past 13 years.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"She is one of a kind," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Democrat who represents Ward 5. "She has handled controversial issues like midnight closings, annexation and sidewalk cafes with confidence and sensitivity to all parties involved."

Alderman M. Theresa DeGraff, the Ward 7 Republican who tangled with Fogarty over the transfer of liquor licenses, said the planning director has "done a lot of wonderful things for us."

From the rebricking of Main Street to the revitalization of ailing neighborhoods and the rebirth of maritime industries, Fogarty has been credited with maintaining a balance between development and preservation in Annapolis.

Critics and supporters called her "the most politically savvy department head" in Republican Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' administration.

She began her 22-year career in local and regional planning in San Diego County, Calif., serving in a number of positions from 1973 to 1979. Before she came to Annapolis, Fogarty served as principal planner for Virginia Beach, Va., where she managed a $900 million capital improvement program.

From the time she arrived in Annapolis in 1984, Fogarty has dealt with a city in conflict with itself. Then, tremendous development pressures were pitted against a fierce desire to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods and strengthen the city's boating industry. Now, the issue has changed from managing growth to attracting businesses to the city.

"There was always a fragile balance we had to deal with in this city," said Fogarty one recent afternoon as she toured the waterways of Annapolis. "Some of it was bitter and rancorous. And sometimes, we had to make hard recommendations that didn't always please everyone, but we always made them for the good of the whole community."

Under her direction, the planning and zoning department has: Attracted more business to the city, adding almost 3 million square feet of major new nonresidential construction.

Developed a Maritime Zoning and Economic Strategy to protect waterfront property and encourage the development of maritime businesses.

Created the Ward One Sector Study to stimulate, yet control, commercial development in the downtown Historic District while preserving residential neighborhoods.

Her work earned her several awards, including the state's "Planning Vision" award, the state chapter for the American Planning Association "Professional Achievement Award" and the YWCA's "Outstanding Women in Industry and Government Award."

"It's a good legacy to leave behind," she said. "I am proud of my accomplishments here, but I couldn't have done it without the help and support of so many people."

Her work has not been without criticism. Some critics, for example, complained that Fogarty had too much influence with the mayor.

Many city officials were angered recently when Hopkins, at the request of other city officials, removed longtime activist Marita Carroll from the Housing Authority Board. Fogarty, with some help, was credited with persuading Hopkins to reverse his decision.

An effort to get rid of Fogarty two years ago failed when her supporters marched to city hall, demanding that the only female department head not be ousted.

"She was our only female head of a department at the time, and she was a very competent one," said Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat who led the protest.

Fogarty has the ability to deal with issues and "finally arrive at some sort of consensus," Moyer said.

"That is not an easy thing to do here, so she will be missed," Moyer said.

Pub Date: 9/21/96

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