Speak Out

Your Opinions

October 09, 2005

ISSUE: The Annapolis city council is weighing zoning changes for the West Street corridor east of Spa Road.

City planners have recommended restricting the height and size of new buildings, limiting the distribution of liquor licenses that are effective until 2 a.m. and regulating demolition of buildings.

Some neighborhood residents say building heights need to be reduced to keep the community from being overwhelmed. Some property owners and investors say that would penalize them after they stuck it out along a once-downtrodden strip.

What is your view?

Guidelines, yes; straitjacket, no

The Anne Arundel County Alliance For Fair Land Use believes there needs to be a guideline for the height and size of new buildings but not a rigid straitjacket. There should be a range in which the Planning Director and his staff have the power to grant varying height and size based on the benefits to the city. Too many times developers are put in a rigid box, which ends up with the debacle we had on West Street of a McDonalds with its entrance in the rear. There simply needs to be common sense and a positive attitude of creating a win-win for all concerned.

Other than the historic district, there should not be a prohibition on knocking down old buildings. The distribution of liquor licenses should not be limited but left in the hands of the City Council. In the end, the marketplace will determine how many liquor licenses are needed.

There are few homes on the West Street corridor and Spa Road. The communities are for the most part off the main roads. These communities will not be affected by the size and height of new commercial buildings and again we would vest that power in the Planning Director.

Annapolis is an island and it must first develop its own property as evidenced by the great job Mayor Ellen O. Moyer and Planning Chief John Arason have done in stimulating West Street to grow from Church Circle out to Park Place. Remember that we need service jobs in the city.

As a life long Annapolitan, I took exception with your quoting a county resident who gave his negative opinion on the practical impact of Park Place. City residents are not divided on Jerry Park's Park Place nor Alan Hyatt's Severn Savings Bank building or the older office building in that triangle built by pioneers Lou Hyatt and Skip Gardner. These men have taken a chance on Annapolis and invested millions that will generate jobs, beautiful architecture a home for the arts, and a whole new lifestyle for all of us.

Annapolis will soon regain its prized title of Colonial times as the "Athens of the East."

These developments and annexation have helped Annapolis bring in revenue so that we can meet the many needs of our diverse population which is like no other in the County. Furthermore, it gives us control over the properties next to us so we guarantee quality developments and control our destiny.

John Pantelides, Annapolis

Restrictions needed now

The Annapolis City Council should immediately enact the proposed zone height and other development restrictions for inner West Street. As property owners on nearby City Gate Lane, we suffer from the city's increasingly lax parking enforcement and its indiscriminate willingness to grant 2 a.m. liquor licenses without regard to resident quality of life.

The time has come to restore some reasonable balance between commercial and residential uses on inner West so that the Murray Hill community remains an attractive place for families.

Kevin Miller, Annapolis

SPEAKOUT

THE ISSUE:

Anne Arundel County residents and officials who attended a panel discussion last week on perceived failures of the county's criminal justice system agree that there's a serious problem but don't agree on where the problems are. Some call for judges to impose tougher sentences, others for better treatment and rehabilitation programs.

YOUR VIEW:

Where does the problem lie? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your response short and include your name, address and daytime phone number. A selection of responses will be published Sunday.

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