Planners OK development at hospital site

January 16, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

The plan to redevelop the abandoned hospital site in downtown Annapolis cleared its first hurdle last night, winning approval from the city's Planning Commission.

Four commissioners voted unanimously to send the 114-unit Acton's Landing residential project on to the Board of Appeals.

The project, the first major development in the historic district in decades, is proposed by Virginia-based Madison Homes. Approvals from the appeals board - which will begin its public hearings Feb. 5 - and the Historic Preservation Commission are necessary before the developer can obtain building permits.

Last night's commission meeting was the third held on the proposal. While many residents told the commission that they supported the development plan, a handful criticized the density of the development on the 4.5-acre site and called for the commission to reject the plan.

But the commissioners resisted making changes to the layout or number of houses in the proposal, which has evolved over the past year as the developer worked with the city's planning staff to make it fit in with the surrounding communities.

Acton's Landing is to include 26 senior-restricted condominium apartments, 58 other condominium apartments, 15 townhouses, a duplex and 13 single-family homes.

The project has been the focus of controversy since The Sun revealed the checkered pasts of Madison Homes' two principals.

Their former company, the Milton Co., faced three lawsuits in the early 1990s filed by Maryland condominium owners complaining about shoddy construction. Condominium owners at two of the complexes settled out of court, while those at the third went to trial and were awarded $6.7 million in 1994. Milton stopped doing business in 1992.

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