April 22, 2024
Annapolis, US 62 F

Here’s What’s Ahead for Annapolis in 2040

On January 4, 2024, the City of Annapolis Planning Commission approved the draft “Annapolis Ahead 2040” Comprehensive Plan. The Commission has updated the City’s Comprehensive Plan regularly since it approved its first comprehensive plan in 1962. In Maryland, state law requires municipalities to update and adopt a comprehensive plan every ten years, and mandates the municipality’s Planning Commission to play a leading role in drafting the document.

 The Plan is a document that outlines a vision for the City’s future through 2040 and as a means of implementing the vision includes the guiding principles, goals, and recommendations for a range of issues, including housing affordability, transportation, and economic and climate resilience.  This new plan updates the City’s current plan which was adopted in 2009. The Planning Commission is an all-volunteer board of Annapolis residents with issue area expertise in planning and land use policy. 

As part of the process to draft Annapolis Ahead 2040, the City’s Department of Planning and Zoning worked closely with the Annapolis Planning Commission and held scores of public meetings, both virtual and in person starting in May of 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced City staff to pivot dramatically to ensure diverse public participation in the planning process which led to a variety of new tools and strategies being used.  

Department staff drafted the Plan and released it for public review at two different junctures. In July 2021, staff released preliminary goals, recommended actions, and performance measures for public review and comment, and received close to 200 public comments. In June 2023, staff released the complete draft plan for a 90-day public review and comment period as required by the State of Maryland Land Use article, and created a dedicated website at www.AnnapolisAhead2040.com to gather comments, share meeting announcements, and provide document updates. 

While the article only requires a 60-day comment period, the Planning Commission and staff elected to extend the period for 30 more days to allow for adequate review time. During this period, the Planning Commission held seven public hearings, while staff held twelve in-person and virtual meetings across the City to share the Draft Plan and gather public comments. 

Additional presentations were also provided to nearly twenty different civic associations, City Boards and Commissions, and other stakeholder groups. During the 90-day public comment period, 190 comments were received and made available for public view on the Annapolis Ahead website.  City staff reviewed all comments and close to 30 percent of the comments led to substantial changes in the Draft Plan approved by the Planning Commission. 

An updated Draft Plan was presented to the Planning Commission in early December and on January 4 the Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan recommending it to the Mayor and City Council for adoption. 

“This Comprehensive Plan was a monumental undertaking, reflecting nearly four years of extensive studies and community outreach,” said Planning and Zoning Director Chris Jakubiak. “I want to thank our team for sticking to it, seeking community input, incorporating that input into the Plan and then getting this across the line in challenging circumstances.” 

In preparing the new plan, staff reviewed the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, including implementation, changes to the City since the Plan’s adoption, and new opportunities and challenges facing Annapolis. The team conducted a fiscal impact analysis and forecast for household growth and future development. Various small area or special topic plans which informed the development of Annapolis Ahead 2040 include: 

  • West Annapolis Master Plan
  • Military Installation Resilience Review
  • Maritime Task Force Strategy
  • Forest Drive Eastport Sector Study
  • Housing Affordability Task Force Report
  • Outdoor Dining Pilot Study
  • Blue Technology Business Study and Strategy 
  • 2020 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice in the Baltimore Region

The next step is for the Annapolis City Council to take up the Plan for adoption.  As a guiding document, the Council’s adoption of the Plan would not change zoning regulations within the City’s Code of Ordinances. Changing any aspect of the City Code will require specific legislation as an Ordinance and additional community participation. 

To learn more about Annapolis Ahead 2040, visit: www.AnnapolisAhead2040.com

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