Coalition Draws Crowd Downtown To Oppose City Dock Re-Zoning

| June 25, 2013
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Clarification: Our initial story (in its entirety below) was drafted on a mobile device from the press conference and some of the points may not have been clear.  The current ordinance before the Council is a completely separate issue from the City Dock Advisory Commission recommendations.  This ordinance only applies to the re-zoning of the parcel (Fawcetts) and the immediate area–not the remainder of City Dock. This ordinance does not include modifications to the traffic circle, installation of a seawall.  This ordinance will have a public hearing before the Council on Monday, July 8th at 7pm.

It should be noted that the speakers today discussed the potential height of a new building at the Fawcetts site. They demonstrated the height by flying balloons at 45′. However, the existing zoning allows for the 45′ height of the building as it is and there is not an increased height portion of this ordinance. If the owners of the building wanted to increase the height today, the current zoning allows for it.

Mayor Cohen who is away on a junket in Ireland did release the following statement on the coalition and the ordinance.

It is not surprising that any proposal to make changes downtown would generate opposition. Over these past few years I have spoken with many people and listened to many different viewpoints about the proposed City Dock changes. Since learning about the coalition today, I reached out to Sean O’Neill in hopes of sitting down with the coalition leadership and looking for ways to address their concerns collaboratively. I hope to get together with them later this week. I would hope that everyone recognizes that the team led by Mark Ordan presents our community with a unique opportunity to leverage substantial private investment to achieve significant public benefits: creating a wide public promenade along the water, opening up the viewshed to lower Main Street, and fixing some of the longstanding flooding issues along Compromise Street.

In order to be responsive to this opportunity for 110 Compromise Street while also recognizing the need for much more additional deliberation about some of the more controversial recommendations (e.g. eliminating the traffic circle, and reducing parking and increasing building height along Dock Street) I made the decision to proceed at this time only with the zoning recommendations along Compromise Street as well as some of the less controversial, broader recommendations such as establishing a necessary flood protection elevation. These are the only aspects of the zoning or of the Plan itself which are being brought before the Council at this time.

A new Annapolis coalition the Coalition To Save Annapolis, made up of residents, businesses, historic preservationists, & maritime industries has called on the Annapolis City Council to reject a zoning proposal that will destroy Maritime and Historic Zoning laws that have been in place for decades and oppose Annapolis City Council Ordinance 0-7-13 that “spot zones” the Fawcett Property on Compromise Street.

Downtown Meeting

The organization held a pre20130625-112345.jpgss conference in the parking lot adjacent to the Fleet Reserve Club this morning to demonstrate their strength and commitment to the cause. Approximately 100 people were in attendance including residents, business owners and representatives of the varied organizations that have partnered with the coalition.

Several residents and businesses spoke on the proposed development highlighting how piecemeal it was put together. Balloons floated around the existing faucet building to approximate the proposed height of the new building. Graphics were presented showing how the view from Ego Alley, Main Street, and Fleet Reserve Club would be blocked by the proposed building.

Former Mayor Ellen Moyer spoke and quoted Mayor Cohen’s prior stance on preservation of City Dock and Maritime Heritage.

Background

The Coalition is comprised of organizations, businesses and residents concerned about the potential negative effects of the City Dock Master Plan, and specifically the ordinance the City Council is currently considering to facilitate the sale of the Fawcetts property.

The Coalition’s membership includes the following: Annapolis Business Association, Historic Annapolis, The Fleet Reserve Club, United States Yacht Shows, Campbell Properties, Annapolis Marine Art, Moyer Consulting, Liquified Creative, The Big Cheese, Federal House Bar and Grill, Studio 50 Design, Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, Bay Yacht Agency, Annapolis School of Seamanship, R.A. Noyce and Associates, and Annapolis Landing Marina. Many concerned citizens from Annapolis and the surrounding area are also members.

“The current ordinance puts the cart before the horse. Its piecemeal approach is counter to a more reasoned well-thought out process that that this community deserves,” said Ellen Moyer, former Annapolis Mayor of Moyer Consulting.

“The dock area is the heart and soul of this city and needs to be nurtured to ensure long term economic vitality,” she added.

The Coalition is also opposed to the City Dock Master Plan as it currently is written.

“We are concerned about height and bulk limitations, removal of the traffic circle, the loss of nearly 200 parking spots with no plan for replacement; and, a seawall of indeterminate height,” said Lewis R. Bearden, Chair, Board of Governors, Fleet Reserve Club.

“We believe that the process is broken, that the concerns of our community have been ignored and we urge lawmakers to slow down,” said Sean O’Neill, President, Annapolis Business Association.

“What’s the rush? Let’s work together and get this right. The future of Annapolis depends on it,” O’Neill said.

The Coalition’s goal is to work with the City of Annapolis to create a comprehensive City Dock Master Plan that preserves our 300 year-old tradition of commercial, historic and maritime activity.

Today the Coalition to Save Annapolis launched a website www.SaveAnnapolis.org, a FaceBook page, and is on Twitter @SaveAnnapolis. The Coalition is comprised of organizations and individuals concerned about the negative effects of the City Dock Master Plan.

Members include:

  • Annapolis Business Association
  • Annapolis Landing Marina
  • Annapolis Marine Art
  • Annapolis School of Seamanship
  • Bay Yacht Agency
  • The Big Cheese
  • Campbell Properties
  • Federal House Bar & Grille
  • Fleet Reserve Club
  • Historic Annapolis
  • Liquified Creative
  • Moyer Consulting
  • R.A. Noyce and Associates
  • Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory
  • Studio 50 Design
  • United States Yacht Shows
  • Ward One Residents’ Association
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Category: Businesses, Local News, NEWS

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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