Crystal Spring Facts
Poll reports 2-1 Opposition to Crystal Spring
By an overwhelming margin of 67 percent to 32 percent, readers of The Capital said they oppose the Crystal Spring development. The vote was 3865 opposed, 1823 in favor. Ninety-three voters said the issue needed more study. To look at the poll results yourself, click here.
Annapolis sends Crystal Spring plan back to developers for revision: City says project's forest conservation plan does not meet criteria; can be resubmitted
Feb. 13, 2015 - Annapolis sent Crystal Spring's developers 34 pages of revisions needed for their forest conservation plan before the $200 million project can move forward.
Read the complete article
What's at Stake?
The Crystal Spring Farm development would turn the last remaining city forest into a development with a footprint three times the size of Annapolis Towne Center at Parole. We are a group of citizens concerned about this proposed development because of its impacts on the Environment in general, Water Quality, School Overcrowding and Traffic.
Here are the facts:
The Environment -- This property is the last remaining large stand of forest within Annapolis City limits. The City is allowing the weakest possible interpretation of the State's 23 year-old Forest Conservation Act, under which the City has the authority to limit forest and wetland destruction. Learn more.
Water Quality -- Increasing impervious surface (i.e., concrete and parking lots) in the drainage to Crab Creek/South River will cause erosion and more water pollution. Planned buffers are not extensive enough to make a difference. Learn more.
School Overcrowding -- Plans for Crystal Spring include 130 non-age-limited town homes that could further overcrowd area schools. Learn more.
Traffic -- Traffic on Forest drive already slows to a crawl at rush hour. Another retail center plus 500+ more living units will make this worse. Learn more.
Public Process -- The proposal is contrary to the City's comprehensive plan and has been called "all but a done deal" before any public hearings were held on it. If this project can continue without the public weighing in, what else can happen?
What We Seek
We urge that all efforts be made to preserve and protect Crystal Spring in its entirety through purchase using state Program Open Space funds and other funds to justly compensate the owner and permanently protect Crystal Spring as open space. If this cannot be accomplished, we urge that a conservation easement be purchased to protect and preserve the land and fairly compensate the owner while allowing her use and enjoyment of the property.
Should such acquisition that would fairly compensate the landowner not prove possible, we support a significant downsizing of the proposed development to scale back and move all senior-related development to the north closest to Forest Drive and the elimination of all of the non-senior related development so as to minimize forest destruction. All forest cleared would be replaced on site on at least a one-to-one basis and all wetlands would be protected. A permanent conservation easement extinguishing all development rights would be placed on all acreage not developed as well as another such easement on the 75-acres at the adjoining Mas-Que Farm.
Help us in the fight to protect the best of Annapolis! DONATE!
Our campaign to stop the destruction of the last surviving forest in Annapolis will likely end up in court. The developers have very deep pockets and Crystal Spring is a huge investment that they will pull out all stops to protect. We are preparing for that by building our own war chest to defend our natural heritage from desecration. Our research has shown that a realistic minimum for our Crystal Spring Legal Defense Fund is $100,000.
Many citizens have generously contributed -- some $5,000 or more. But it's not nearly enough and we need your help. Please donate whatever you can. Even a few dollars will help protect the forest. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online thanks to assistance from the Severn Riverkeeper. To donate, send your check -- you MUST write "CS Legal Defense Fund" in the check's memo field -- to the Severn Riverkeeper, 329 Riverview trail, Annapolis MD 21401.
If you would like to make a greater impact on the preservation of the environment and the health and well-being of all Annapolitans with a substantial donation, please contact us.
Veteran city employee: “City officials are failing the public”
Former Annapolis environmental compliance inspector Rob Savidge, writing in the Capital, lays out a strong case for his charge that the city’s critical Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs – DNEP – is doing a terrible job of protecting either -- the city’s neighborhoods or environment -- and calls on the mayor to follow through on his “Sweep Annapolis Clean”campaign pledge.
Capital Editor: Development threatens even worse “Grand Prix” on Aris T. Allen Blvd
Capital editor Rick Hutzell looks at development along Aris T. Allen Blvd., and cautions that “a foolish decision” may be made about a new project’s (Rocky Gorge) access to that busy road. Noting that a dozen developments are planned for the Forest Drive corridor, including Crystal Spring, he says that the city and county have to work together to prevent an already bad situation from getting a lot worse.
Watch Mayor Pantelides’ Pledge:
YOU can help win this important fight!
1 -- Write and/or call Mayor Pantelides and tell him you support – and expect him to live up to – his June 27, 2013, campaign pledge: “If I am elected I will put a stop to this development… If I am your Mayor, I will stop it."
Call his office at 410-263-7997; email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org; and email@example.com
2 -- Submit a letter to the editor of the Capital. Remind the mayor of his pledge and note your concerns about the development. Keep it to 250 words, maximum, and include your address and phone number. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 410-268-4643.
SRO Crowd at Crystal Spring Session
Thanks to all of you who came to City Hall July 15 to witness the Crystal Spring developers’ work session presentation to the Annapolis Planning Commission. It was standing room only, with most of our crowd wearing badges rejecting "Irresponsible Development.”
The Commissioners wouldn’t take testimony from us about all the problems with Crystal Spring, but they pledged to have a special work session in September where opponents would have the opportunity to talk about the various environmental, traffic, schools and other problems that the development would cause.
Here’s a great Letter to the Editor of the Capital printed a few days later:
I attended the work session of the Annapolis City Planning Commission with the developers of the proposed Crystal Spring project on July 15. The City Council chamber was so full of concerned citizens that every seat was filled and people were standing in the back. Most of us were wearing badges calling for "Responsible Development."
Although official signs had been posted at the Crystal Spring property advertising the work session, the public was invited to "attend" but not speak. We listened, with difficulty because of the poor sound system, as the developers tried to explain their project to the commission. Several of the commissioners asked questions that the developers frequently had difficulty answering, including some basics: how wide some roadways would be, how many non-age-restricted apartments or condos the property would have, and why was an entire supermarket (as is now planned) required to service a few hundred residents.
The head of the commission made it clear that it would not be giving guidance to the developers or be making any decisions at the session — it was being held just so the commission could get a sense of what the developers had in mind. It was indicated that another session would be held in September in which the commissioners would hear from groups opposing the development. I think most everyone in the room was pleased to hear that.
This $200 million project deserves full, critical scrutiny. Public sentiment is overwhelmingly against it, from reasons ranging from environmental destruction to even worse traffic on Forest Drive to its impact on our schools and existing businesses. If the project ever does advance to the stage of needing Planning Commission approval, I very much hope it will not be granted.
LIZ VANDEN HEUVEL
Click on the video, by Mark Duehmig, to see just what we stand to lose if acre upon acre is bulldozed. Get a bird's eye view of the expanse of the beautiful Crystal Spring forest.
Rob Savidge, a forestry professional employed by the City's Department of Neigborhood & Environmental Programs, testified before the City Council on Jan. 26, 2015, saying that city processes for reviewing development plans that call for destroying trees are broken. His comments also appeared in an op-ed piece he wrote that was published in The Capital on Jan. 27, 2015. Watch the video above and read the op-ed piece by clicking here.
Click below to read Concerned Citizens for Proper Land Use Comments on Crystal Spring Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan Filed on December 31, 2014