Land development in Annapolis is a strange thing. We have Crystal Spring in the wings. Several other projects are in various states of development. Recently there was a legal appeal from a citizens advocacy group of a decision made by the City which ultimately failed. Now, the City is agreeing with the group that challenged their decision in the first place!
- City: Build away
- Advocacy group: Not so fast, we are taking this to court
- Court: You don’t have a leg to stand on..fire up the bulldozers
- City: Hey Court, we kinda think the Advocacy group was right
So, if the City believed that the project should not go forward…why did they green light it in the first place?
Strange things happen when you lead into an election year for Annapolis Mayor. Annapolis Mayor, Mike Pantelides narrowly won his seat three years ago and it was largely due to his stance on development. He said that if elected he would “stop” the Crystal Spring project. As his term progressed, he waffled on the statement and re-defined the word “stop” to mean “go, but with changes in the plans,” which angered the environmentalists. This latest move is likely just a political move to appease a constituency that allowed him to narrowly win his office.
Below is the release from the City:
Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides announced that he stands behind the City Office of Law and publicly disagrees with an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge who, in dismissing the citizens’ appeal, ruled that the City Forest Conservation Act does not allow for an appeal to seek judicial review.
The City Code adopts the State Forest Conservation Act, which is regulated by the State Code of Maryland Regulations and provides for an appeal process. The city supported this position in Circuit Court but the presiding judge ruled the citizens, who were seeking judicial review of the approval of a forest conservation plan, had no such right of appeal.
“While I support the citizen group appeal and firmly stand behind the knowledge that the appeal process is obvious in state law and regulations, we may want to consider a City Code amendment to merely clarify that the city’s current forest conservation law incorporates the state appeal process as it currently exists and as it applies to those seeking judicial review,” Mayor Pantelides said. “This recommendation is based solely on the recent Circuit Court decision.”
The Annapolis City Attorney has gone on record saying that he supports the right of appeal for the reasons stated above, and feels the judge’s decision was incorrect. The City’s Office of Law is filing an appeal of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge’s decision to the Court of Special Appeals.