The amended Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, which proposes that school capacity become one of the public facilities that is tested at the time of an Adequate Public Facility Review, passed during the last City Council Meeting of the summer last week.
The ordinance requires that school capacity be included in the decision making process when approving new development within the City.
The legislation was initiated by Ward 5 Alderman Jared Littmann and co-sponsored by Alderman Ross Arnett. The Mayor signed on as a co-sponsor close to the end after several amendments were made.
The initial legislation was much more stringent; but Littmann had to water it down to have a chance of passing it. Alderwoman Finlayson and Alderman Kirby were opposed to any APF changes. Alderwoman Pindell-Charles was going to abstain which required Littmann and Arnett to get the backing of 3 of the remaining 4 members of council.
To get passage, they needed to appease Aldermen Budge and Pfeiffer which resulted in the watered down version. The remaining vote (5 were needed) was to be Alderman Paone or Mayor Pantelides and the Mayor signed onto the bill at the last minute.
The goal of this ordinance is to ensure that the capacity of the elementary, middle, and high schools can support additional students before an application is approved.
As it stands as adopted, elementary and middle schools can be at 105% capacity before development is restricted and high schools at 120%. The minimum number of units to trigger a halt to development was intended to be 5 to be consistent with the county; but is now at 11 (Budge concession). The area of Annapolis that is considered “downtown” and the Arts District is now exempt (Pfeiffer concession).
Littmann commented, “The Ordinance isn’t as strong as I’d hoped. It is not perfect. It’s a reasonable compromise, and it is a start. We now have some protections to the overcrowding of our schools due to development in Annapolis.”