A Detailed Look at How the Site Plan Revisions Reflect the Input and Questions We Received from the City and Others
July 16, 2014
The updated Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan was developed following the initial submittal on May 24, 2013 and responded to DNEP’s June 28, 2013 letter and the comments and instruction therein. Some of DNEP’s remarks were of a general nature; others took the form of specific directives. A central message of DNEP’s letter, however, was the request that Crystal Spring Development (CSD) create a consolidated environmental mapping to show all environmental features on a single sheet and then to reconsider the ability to adjust the proposed development in light of the environmental mapping. CSD’s team, headed by Annapolis Landscape Architects, developed the consolidated environmental mapping based upon input provided by DNEP, DPZ, and others. The mapping then functioned as a new baseline for project planning. The mapping, includes information on:
- Forest Stands
- Specimen Trees
- Steep slopes, wetlands and other natural resources per Natural Resources Article, § 5-1607 (c)
- Arborist-identified individual tree stands with best survivability
Once this mapping was completed, CSD established a priority ranking of environmental resources to be retained. The ranking order established was:
1. Intermittent Drainage Way
2. MDE-designated “vernal pool”
3. Non-tidal wetlands
4. Steep Slopes
5. Wildlife Corridor
6. Tree stands that connect Arborist-identified tree stands
Using the consolidated environmental mapping as a guide toward potential revisions, CSD made several significant plan modifications that reflect the priority ranking established above.
In addition, DNEP requested that CSD specifically investigate alternatives that would relocate the main CCRC building from its prior location to an area of the property on the Forest Drive side of the intermittent drainage way with the aim of creating a larger wildlife corridor through the middle section of the site. This relocation was accomplished, resulting in a larger wildlife corridor which now encompasses approximately 50 acres, and removing all proposed development from potential impacts to identified environmental features in that region of the property. See the Consolidated Environmental Mapping included herewith.
Overall site plan improvements have been accomplished by instituting the following major plan modifications as reflected in this revised Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan:
- The main CCRC building and the health care facility, a total of approximately 400,000 square-feet of development, have been relocated from their previous location to a portion of the retail/commercial mixed-use development section on the Forest Drive side of the intermittent drainage way. This area previously contained retail development, with age-restricted housing above retail, and also the Inn & Spa, all of which were supported by on-grade parking. The modified plan contains only the main CCRC building, health care and CCRC wellness facilities in this area with under-building parking for its residents and only limited staff and visitor on-grade parking for staff and visitors near the building entrances.
- As a result of the relocation of the main CCRC building and related facilities, the previously planned access road to the main CCRC building, which included a vehicle bridge over the intermittent drainage way, has been eliminated. The existing Crystal Spring Farm Road, which will be improved, is now proposed as the main access road to the rear of the property.
- The portions of the Continuing Care Retirement Community to be developed beyond the main CCRC building and its health care facility have been reduced in scope and footprint. One of the three “Maison Court” 20-unit independent living buildings has been eliminated and consolidated into the main CCRC building within the Forest Drive side of the development, and the remaining two (2) “Maison Court” buildings and 24 of the 33 cottage units have all been located in non-forested areas. Only the nine (9) cottage units in Phase 1 of the CCRC development are planned within the forested area of the property on the opposite side of the intermittent drainage way from the main CCRC building. These small independent cottages, with no basements, will be developed in a way that will insure that existing hydrology now sheet feeding pocket wetlands and the intermittent drainage way are maintained.
- A minimum 100-foot setback from Forest Drive has been created which will reduce the visual impact from Forest Drive.
A graphic illustration of the progress that has been achieved throughout the site plan revision process is represented on the image from a previous blog post (scroll to our July 2, 2014 post, “Crystal Spring Project, Project Statistics – Comparison of Building Footprint & Hardscape Areas”). The three plans depict snapshots of the multi-year planning process at critical points, and the evolution of the project. The first layout, from April 2011, shows the plan as proposed to and reviewed by the City’s Planning Commission during workshop sessions. The second layout, from May 2013, shows the plan submitted to DNEP as part of the initial Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan submittal. The third layout shows the current revised Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan.
See the PDF links, below, to view the Statistical Comparison Chart and the Consolidated Environmental Mapping.