The Planning staff has sent comments back to the developer of the Eastport Shopping Center to address several concerns:
You can review a summary of those questions (PDF), prepared by Peter Bittner.
The April 5, 2017, Town Hall sponsored by Alderman Ross Arnett joined by Mayor Mike
Pantelides provided an opportunity to hear about the proposed development for the
Eastport Shopping Center property and for residents to express support and concerns and
get questions answered. A large crowd packed the Fire Station meeting room and Mayor
Pantelides noted that there had been more comments filed with the City on ESC than any
other location because it is a defining community project. He noted that it is not a done deal.
Vic Pascoe, ECA President, said that it was the role of ECA to get the membership
involved, that we have received many letters and the majority have not been in favor
of residential, want more retail, and want to come up with something that is not this
imposing building. Ross concurred with the Mayor and Vic and added that he is most
interested in more retail, found constituents were not necessarily interested in more
neighbors and do not think the proposed building is in the scale of the Eastport community.
Ross also said he was challenging the calculations of the builder about the number of units
they were entitled to by right.
Pete Gutwald, Director of Planning and Zoning, reviewed the considerations in the review of any proposal starting with the Comprehensive Plan, Element studies and zoning. He noted that the ESC proposal was in a category of “planned development/mixed use” which permits negotiations between the Planning staff and the developer, outside of the zoning prescriptions. The Planning Commission will make the final decision about the project, not the Council or the staff. Leo Wilson, architect for the proposed development, called “The Lofts," described the project facts and plans of the 127 apartment proposal. He showed those attending what the buildings would actually look like up against the existing buildings around the proposed 4-story structure to get a realistic picture of how it would fit in with everything already there. He talked about what the community amenities would be added to Eastport in the ground floor of the apartment building structure, including an open specialty food market and community gathering spaces.
Questions from residents added additional information:
Letters and email to the City are still being added to the public record so if you have not expressed your view, you still can. There will be a community meeting with the Planning Commission and finally the Planning Commission hearing (dates not yet determined). Citizen participation will be important at both the meeting and the hearing.
Actions for Residents
Email from Planning & Zoning Director Pete Gutwald, dated Aug. 7, 2018, is below. He is responding to a an email from William Reichhardt who passed on the letter from Concerned Citizens regarding the Lofts at Eastport Landing.
I will follow up more in depth with your letter...but just to let you know the August 17 is just the posting requirements...our standing operating procedure has never limited public comment...we have/will continue to accept public comments after the posting requirements date.
Using eTrakit to Review Application/Plans:
– Go to www.annapolis.gov
– Search “Government” drop down menu & select “Online Permit Tracking”
– Click on “Projects”
– Using the search tool “Address begins with” type in: “915 Chesapeake”
– This will bring up all of the documents that the City has for this project, including comments by the public
– To see the latest site design plans, click on “Lofts at Eastport Landings Site Design Statement 7-12-18.pdf”
(the new Project # is SDP2018-006)
Filing Written Comments with P&Z:
– Reference Project: Lofts at Eastport Landing – 915 Chesapeake Avenue – Project #SDP2018-006
– Send to:
E. Thomas Smith, Jr., RLA
Chief of Current Planning
City of Annapolis, Department of Planning & Zoning
145 Gorman Street, 3rd Floor
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
emaili: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 410-263-7961 ext. 7797
Below you will find a statement from the Concerned Citizens regarding the mediation process concluded between them, the Developers of the Eastport shopping Center representatives from the City. As you will note in the statement, this is an agreement between the three parties on specific topics of massing for the proposed structure, both height and bulk. The agreement will be added to the record when the revised project plans are submitted to the City and go before the Planning Commission sometime later this year. The agreement does not preclude input from any or all interested parties, nor does it cover matters such as traffic, parking or stormwater management to name a few other topics.
Linked to below is the text of the negotiated agreement, which includes a set of renderings showing a potential set of elevations and floor plans.
Notice From the Concerned Citizens Group Regarding Eastport Landing Mediation:
Mediation has been completed with a signed written agreement between the Concerned Citizens Group, Solstice Developers, and the City on the Eastport Landing project at the Eastport Shopping Center. As a result of the Mediation Agreement, Solstice will be filing an amended application for Site Design Plan Review by the City’s Department of Planning and Zoning. The mediation avoided costly litigation and resulted in a reduction of the proposed building’s mass, scale, height and setback under the B2 Code, rather than as special mixed plan development.
Specifically excluded from the mediation process were the project’s compliance with Adequate Public Facilities, parking, traffic and environmental laws, so these and all other issues remain open for review in the normal course of consideration by the Department of Planning and Zoning. While the Mediation Agreement addressed particular issues between the parties, citizens of Annapolis will continue to have the opportunity to participate in the Site Design Plan Review process, and to comment on all issues as to the Eastport Landing project’s amended application.
Mediation Agreement with Eastport Landing plans.
(November 29, 2018) - The decision on the apartment building project in the Eastport Shopping Center is out and available on this section of the City website: https://etrakit.annapolis.gov/Search/project.aspx.
The decision approves a 98 unit apartment building over first floor commercial space, and includes 143 structured parking spaces and 6 moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs).
I regret that P&Z did not exercise its discretion to send the project to the Planning Commission to allow residents to provide testimony. The public should be given a chance to weigh in on major projects prior to final approval. However, I doubt that the approval outcome would have changed at the Planning Commission.
I believe the current code requires that a project of the proposed height of Lofts at Eastport Landing (49+ feet) must be sent to Planning Commission but the City Attorney issued an opinion disagreeing with my position. To approve the project at 49+ feet, the Planning Staff applied the MPDU 20 percent height bonus to the height trigger of 45 feet required in the zoning code. Again, I doubt that the outcome would have changed with the Planning Commission.
The Planning Director’s decision can be appealed within 30 days of the decision (26 November 2018) with the Board of Appeals (BOA). Appellants must have standing, which means that they must have a financial interest or have property within 200 feet of the project. As an aside, the BOA ruled last year that I do not have standing as Alderman to appeal a Planning decision.
Going forward, on 19 November the City Council passed the ordinance O-14-18 that requires all major projects get a public hearing before an application can be submitted. Passage of that legislation relieves the injunction filed by the Shopping Center developers against legislation passed last term, O-35-17, that required the public hearing before application, but also that all major site design projects have a public hearing before the Planning Commission for final approval. So from now on, all City residents will be given notice of an impending project and be given a presentation of the proposed project by the developer, before any application is filed.
Eastport Civic Association
P.O. Box 3539
Annapolis, MD 21403c
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