ANNAPOLIS, AUG. 19 -- Annapolis officials proposed severe building restrictions today on and near the city's 18 miles of waterfront that would have the effect of barring new construction in much of the already developed area.
Developers and city officials acknowledged that the city's waterfront had been so built up that many of the restrictions would not be as severe as they seem on paper. They would mainly affect developers who want to build condominiums and apartments on land where single-family houses sit, they said.
The proposals, which will go to public hearings this year before being submitted to the state's Critical Areas Commission for approval, would ban all building -- except for marine businesses -- within 100 feet of the city's creeks and rivers. They would also limit the size and number of buildings that could be built within 1,000 feet of the water.
City Planning Director Eileen Fogarty said the restrictions would have "a significant effect on future growth potential" because they would prevent developers from buying single-family houses and building larger, more profitable buildings in their places. "What this does is knock out the condominium and the multifamily development potential along the waterfront," Fogarty said. "That's the main thing."
City officials said they believed the biggest impact of the new restrictions would be felt in Eastport, a peninsula on the south side of the city, where waterfront property used by marine businesses could not be converted to apartments, hotels or for other nonmarine uses. This aspect of the plan, made public several months ago as part of a city program to preserve marine industries, has gained wide support from operators and owners of marine businesses.
Mayor Dennis Callahan and city planners said they believe the new restrictions would make it almost impossible for the U.S. Naval Academy Athletic Association to go through with a controversial plan for a 227-room, $22 million hotel on College Creek near the academy. Buildings, parking lots and other man-made surfaces would be allowed to cover only 15 percent of the property, and only 20 percent of the trees on the heavily wooded lot would have to be retained.
But Annapolis hotelier and builder Paul M. Pearson, developer of the Navy hotel, said today that his plans anticipate those restrictions. "We believe we're meeting all the standards and meet them in such a way that we'll produce a model project, looked upon as the finest possible example of how development within these limitations can take place," Pearson said.
However, he called the city's plans "absolutely, unbelievably restrictive" and said many of his earlier waterfront condominium projects would have been barred under the plans proposed by the city today.
The hotel project, still in the planning stage, has generated fierce criticism from city and area conservation groups, who complain it would destroy one of the last pieces of unspoiled waterfront property in Annapolis. Pearson and athletic association officials have insisted the hotel would be hidden behind trees and would not damage the environment.