Annapolis Planning Commission Shares Details Supporting Its Village At Providence Point Approval

The Annapolis Planning Commission has responded to a request from Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Mark W. Crooks for information that explains the reasoning behind its decision to approve a variance request for The Village at Providence Point senior living community.

Originally planned to cover the entire 175.6-acre property, the proposal now has the community on a 36.2-acre footprint located close to Forest Drive, and as far from Crab Creek and its tributaries as possible, all within the city’s Forest Drive Opportunity Area.

According to the Planning Commission’s Supplemental Opinion and Order, the decision was informed by testimony from a wide range of environmental experts. The commission carefully considered key factors prior to issuing its approval, including the provisions for reforestation, preservation of wetlands and forest on-site, stream restoration and related measures to stabilize stream bank erosion, as well as bioretention cells, green roofs, roof top disconnects, and porous pavers.

Expert testimony revealed that these environmental features could control a 25-year storm event, and that the project will have stormwater management that will provide over 125 percent of the required environmental site design volume. Additionally, the project will improve the waters in Crab Creek and the Chesapeake Bay with a variety of environmental protection measures. “Because of these measures, there will be no adverse impact on water,” the response stated.

The non-profit Concerned Citizens for Proper Land Use, Inc., through its leader former Senator Gerald Winegrad, testified in support of the project. Concerned Citizens reported that stormwater will not exceed that from a forest in good condition, and that this is accomplished with 79 rain gardens, more than an acre of green roofs, and 364 of 475 parking spaces placed underground or under buildings with another 28 spaces using porous surfaces.

Mr. Winegrad submitted written testimony on behalf of Concerned Citizens, which addressed, among other topics, how the project’s reforestation will have positive effects on water quality to nearby Crab Creek and habitats of local birds and certain endangered species of plants and animals.

The Commission noted that the developer has agreed to remediate stormwater pollution from over 500 feet of an existing “severely degraded” stormwater channel that drains under Spa Road from nearby Annapolis Middle School. This is one of the two major pollution sources to Crab Creek and will be done at a cost of $500,000, all of which will be paid for by the senior living community. The other major pollution source affecting Crab Creek is a stormwater channel running from a parcel located to the west of the project and is also being remediated as part of redevelopment in that area.

“The Commission notes that the proposed stormwater management plans, including the optional nearby stream restoration, will cause the waters to flow into Crab Creek in a cleaner condition than they currently do.”

The Commission concluded its Supplemental Opinion and Order noting that the variance to remove 64 significant trees is consistent with past variances in the City of Annapolis and will not confer a special privilege to the applicant as compared to others and will not adversely affect water quality.

“Accordingly, to deny the requested variance would force the development into the less forested areas of the property, nearer to Crab Creek and its tributaries, and into the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area where development is critically limited.”

National Lutheran Communities & Services, a faith-based, not-for-profit organization with a 133-year-history of serving older adults throughout Maryland, Virginia, and metropolitan Washington, D.C., is marketing the community and reports receiving strong interest from seniors who would like to move to or remain in the Annapolis community.