Annapolis Delays Crystal Spring Review Until
Pantelides Sworn In
Mayor Josh Cohen has requested Annapolis officials
halt all reviews of a large development proposed for
land in the Forest Drive corridor.
Cohen said Wednesday that staff has been instructed
to hold off until Mayor-elect Mike Pantelides takes
office and has had a chance to appoint personnel to
“Crystal Spring was one of the major campaign
issues, and I believe the new mayor and
administration should be able to have a blank canvas
to review it and process the application as they see
fit,” Cohen said.
Pantelides, a Republican, will be sworn in on Dec.
2. Pantelides did not immediately return a call for
comment Wednesday evening.
During his campaign, Pantelides promised he would
“favor the environment over developer interests at
Crystal Spring and City Dock.”
Crystal Spring is a mixed-use commercial project
with a continuing care retirement community as its
anchor, slated for 111 acres near the intersection
of Forest Drive and Spa Road. The site would be
accessed by Mas Que Farm Road and is close to Crab
The city’s consideration of the project is in a
preliminary phase. Staff have been reviewing how the
project would affect streams, forests and wetlands.
Cohen said City Manager Mike Mallinoff spoke with
the developers Tuesday, asking them to delay
submitting any additional materials for review until
the incoming administration is in place.
The next submission anticipated is a Forest
Conservation Plan, which would show where buildings
would be placed on the property with respect to the
natural resources. The staff rejected a draft of the
plan in June, requesting revisions.
The Cohen administration accepted an inventory of
the site’s natural resources in March 2013, but no
other approvals have been issued.
Andrew Bing, a Crystal Spring spokesman, said the
developers support Cohen’s approach. “We think it
shows proper respect to the new administration,”
While Bing didn’t know the target date for the
developers’ next submission, he said the team is
looking forward to talking to Pantelides about the
process moving forward.
We want to make sure before we submit our Forest
Conservation Plan it has the benefit of those
conversations,” Bing said.
Developers say Crystal Spring could be a boon to the
local economy, creating 1,200 permanent jobs. Some
seniors have advocated for the project, saying they
can’t wait to move in.
But many neighborhood groups and environmental
activists fear the construction will destroy one of
the few forests left in Annapolis and do irreparable
damage to wetlands.
Others worry how 500 additional housing units to the
Forest Drive corridor would worsen traffic.
The Crystal Spring proposal could include 326 senior
houses and apartments, 126 town houses without age
restrictions and a 52-room nursing facility. The
plans might also incorporate an inn, a chapel, a
cultural arts center, a grocery store and a mix of
stores and restaurants.
National Lutheran Communities and Services, a
Rockville-based ministry, would own and operate the
retirement community component of the project,
called The Village at Crystal Spring.
All documents related to the city’s Forest
Conservation Act review of the proposal are
available on Annapolis’ website at bit.ly/11wpY0W.
(Reprinted from the Capital, November 14, 2013.)