Odor meeting & my budget amendments for Ward7

Due to the Memorial Day weekend, our next Council meeting will be on Tuesday the 28th. There isn’t too much on the agenda to talk about. The big news is that we just had an extended work session yesterday where we went over all of our proposed/draft budget amendments. This was in preparation for our all day June 3rd Council meeting where we will vote on every amendment and finally the budget if all goes well. You can view my complete list of proposed amendments here. But I’ll offer a summary/highlights below: 

  1. Funding an additional social worker in our Office of Community Caring; 
  2. Creating a dedicated funding source for our urban tree program so we can actually meet our canopy coverage target; 
  3. Vehicular noise camera on Tyler Ave, turning it into a “Quiet Street”; 
  4. BayWoods crosswalk sign with lights and push button; 
  5. Forest Drive re-envisioning to address traffic, pedestrian, and cycling safety (this is our most dangerous road in the City!); 
  6. Mini-roundaout feasibility studies, including at the intersections with Georgetown Rd & Victor Parkway (near the Giant) in Ward 7, and 3 others around the City. If successful, I hope to install these down Edgewood Rd in the future to address speeding issues. I include links to details, including a video from V-DOT, in my budget link above.    

Also, details below, but mark June 10th in your library for a public meeting regarding the odor issues at the treatment plant. This will be at 6:30pm at the library. 

 I hope everyone has a good Memorial Day. Please read below for some events that are going on. I also want to thank all of you who serve, and honor those who have died serving our Country.  

 Stay healthy and stay safe,  


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Savidge proposed FY25 budget amendments

A note about many of these amendments: when I mention "one-time use money", that is a pool of money we can use on one time expenses, but not on recurring expenses, because we don't know if it'll be there in future years. This amount fluctuates every fiscal year. None of this would require a tax increase, though the forestry program one would increase our stormwater fee by roughly $3 per quarter. In my mind, that $3 is worth it in order to increase our tree canopy, which would have incredible benefits to our water quality and every day lives by providing shade, clean air, and improved aesthetics.

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Odor at WW plant, town hall follow-up

Thank you for attending the town hall meeting this past week. We had a good discussion, though a little less people than usual. I’ll try to get notice out earlier next time. The next town hall will probably be this fall or winter. As I mentioned at the meeting, my understanding is that Taco Bell has withdrawn their application for building at the Giant Shopping Center. We also discussed a Ward 7 profile sheet that describes some changes being proposed for our Ward in the Comprehensive Plan. A big THANK YOU to those of you who helped distribute flyers.

Also, read on if you want to learn about the odor issues emanating from the wastewater treatment plant, items up for a public hearing Monday, memorial day plans, bike to work week, and other Ward 7 updates.

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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Taco Bell, Town Hall, Budget, STRs, State-of-City

Ward 7 Town Hall

The first thing I wanted to inform you about is that we will be having a Ward 7 Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 9th, at 6:30 PM at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library. My plan is to invite the Mayor and focus on discussing the proposed budget, specifically discussing impacts to Ward 7, and getting your ideas on potential amendments to address capital project needs in our Ward, followed with a general open discussion. As usual, if you can assist with informing your neighbor by dropping off some flyers, please let me know and I’ll be in touch.

State of the City & Short term rentals

At our last meeting, the Mayor gave his State of the City address . We also unanimously passed my Short Term Rental legislation that closed a number of loopholes and tightened other language that allowed people to skirt our one-owner one-licensed property rule. There is also improved language to help deal with nuisance properties that disturb local communities.

Taco Bell & drive-thrus and plastic bags

First of all, I’m introducing O-5-24, which is our plastic bag ban, which is similar to the County’s. There are only three differences between theirs and ours: 1. Ours exempts farmers markets, 2. Ours does NOT exempt schools so they will need to hand out their lunches in paper bags, and 3. Ours requires that paper bags contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled content.

Regarding the proposed Taco Bell and drive -thrus generally in the City, I fully admit that I was not a fan of the proposed Taco Bell that wanted to come into the Giant Shopping Center on the vacant lot in the corner with Edgewood Rd. Thinking about having yet another fast food restaurant with a drivethru did not appeal to me and does not fit into our long-term vision for Ward 7. I wish I had become aware of this earlier and could have spoke out against the CVS and Starbucks drivethru, but I wasn’t fully tuned into the issues with drivethrus until traveling to the Netherlands. We plan to make Ward 7, and most of the City, much more friendly to pedestrians and bikes. Such improvements build community and build place by getting more people outside with their neighbors and supporting their local businesses. Allowing drivethrus does not mesh with this. They make traffic worse, are more dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, take up a lot of space that could be utilized for other purposes, contribute to more impervious surfaces and stormwater issues, and lead to idling vehicles that spew more exhaust and noise, neither of which are conducive to having people outside. Hence my effort to prohibit any new drive-thrus from being approved in the City. They have done so in other cities such as Minneapolis.

FY25 budget introduced & details

As I alluded to earlier, the Mayor introduced his FY25 budget. The FY25 budget includes $115 million in operating expenses alongside $53 million in the Capital Improvement Plan, inclusive of general and enterprise funds. The budget calls for using the final $3.5 million that remains out of the original $6.6 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the City in 2022. 


Highlights in the FY25 operating budget include:

  • the return of the successful internship program which served 26 high school and college students last summer;
  • funding for a grant administrator in the Department of Public Works, the agency responsible for the work at City Dock as well as public water, sewer, traffic, and other public service and maintenance projects;
  • fleet funding for a new Annapolis Fire boat; and
  • creation of an office of Central Services, consolidating service and support to City agencies including purchasing, city buildings, office space/real estate, and the City of Annapolis TV studio.


The FY25 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) forecasts $42.6 million in general fund and $10.4 million in enterprise fund spending. The general fund includes 19 new projects along with continued funding of scores of projects already underway. Highlights include:

  • Connecting Communities: a newly funded project is Bay Ridge Bikeways ($294,000) aimed at improving safety along a route that begins in Eastport and ends at Quiet Waters Park. The Bay Ridge Bikeways project is funded 76 percent ($224,000) by grants and 24 percent ($70,000) through capital reserve. Mayor Buckley has also requested $4 million annually be reserved for Connecting Communities funding through FY30.
  • Choice Neighborhoods: Mayor Buckley has requested a $1 million City match to a proposed $1 million state contribution to the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a plan to revitalize public housing communities of Eastport Terrace and Harbour House.
  • Flood Mitigation: funding for resiliency work in Eastport ($536,000 in FY25 and $5.9 million over five years), especially at street ends where water inundations are damaging City and private property including the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Eastport Yacht Center. Both suffered damage from floodwaters during the historic flooding that took place in January of this year. This year’s funding schedule for the Eastport resiliency work includes 65 percent funding through grants ($350,500) and 35 percent in bond funding ($180,535).

The Budget Process:

  • On Monday, April 8, 2024, Mayor Gavin Buckley introduced the Fiscal Year 2025 City of Annapolis Budget as a City Ordinance.
  • Over the next eight to 10 weeks, the Finance Committee, a standing committee of the City Council chaired by Alderwoman Eleanor Tierney (Ward 1), with Alderwoman Karma O’Neill (Ward 2) and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson (Ward 4), will review and make recommendations to the Operating and Capital portions of the budget. This review takes place over numerous Finance Committee meetings to be broadcast on City TV channels (Verizon 34 and Comcast 99/100), City of Annapolis YouTube, and City of Annapolis Facebook. 
  • Two resident commissions also conduct reviews and can recommend amendments or changes: the Planning Commission may review and make recommendations to the Capital Budget; the Financial Advisory Commission may review and make recommendations to both the Operating and Capital Budgets. Once these Commissions’ recommendations are sent to the Finance Committee and amendments are agreed to by the Finance Committee, a recommended budget is sent to the City Council to be further amended and adopted.
  • Council members may adopt the Mayor’s Budget as-is. The full Council will consider the recommendations of the Finance Committee at a full-day meeting in June. The City Council may elect to move money within departments or between departments. They may come up with new spending. However, the Council must pass a balanced budget. If new appropriations are added, there needs to be a commensurate revenue increase (taxes, fees, or fines) to pay for the increases - or cuts elsewhere in the budget.
  • The final date for passage must be before June 30, 2024. The fiscal year begins July 1, 2024.

Ward 7 budget updates

  • The sidewalk/path improvement project for the Moyer Park Campus of the Maritime Museum, which I had added to last year’s budget, is still in the design phase. I believe the Maritime Museum ended up submitting a bid to design-build this project, which I think is great.
  • Bay Ridge Ave sidewalks at Bay Ridge Rd – This project to add sidewalks along Bay Ridge Ave adjacent to the Shell gas station was added by me to last year’s budget, but wasn’t able to get off the ground due to staff bandwidth issues. I anticipate this getting constructed in 2026.
  • Bay Ridge Ave cycling improvements – This project looks to install a shared pedestrian-cyclist path along Bay Ridge Ave. Design should start in FY25. I need to dig into this a bit more as I hope we can at the same time reduce the lane width to slow traffic, add more paths, and potentially add some more street trees.
  • Tyler/Hilltop improvements – This project will be looking at adjusting lane sizes, installing a completely separate cycle path, installing street trees, installing raised/continuous crosswalks, and potentially either replacing or removing some of the traffic signals with micro traffic circles. Design and construction may start late this year/early next year.
  • Edgewood Rd Crosswalk improvements – This isn’t related to the budget, but we are looking to get BGE to install a street light near this crosswalk as well as potentially painting the curbs here or utilizing other technology to make it more visible so that cars aren’t running into it as often.
  • Hilltop/Tyler-Bay Ridge Ave trail connection – I added $50k to last year’s budget to conduct a feasibility study (not construction) as far as potentially connecting Hilltop/Tyler with Bay Ridge Ave via the old railroad grade. I’m not sure if it’s even feasible hence this study. I’ve asked staff for an update and will let you know what I hear back. It may have been grouped into the overall Bay Ridge Ave study that I mentioned above.

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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Cycle film at City Hall, State of City, Housing bill update

Before I get to details about our Monday Council meeting, I wanted to let you know about a special event happening this Sunday at City Hall:

Cycle to then Movie at City Hall

This Sunday at 3pm we are showing a short 5-minute video highlighting our recent delegation trip to the Netherlands (where we learned about cycling and climate resilience), followed by a longer ~90-minute Dutch documentary called “Together we Cycle” that highlights how they made the transition back to a cycling-based transportation system. We will conclude the event with a panel, including yours truly, to talk about how we can do that locally. If you want to bike over to the event together, please join us at the corner of Georgetown Rd and Windwhisper Ln at 2:30pm. We will also swing by Georgetown East Elementary and SPCA (right on Bay Ridge) if you would like to meet us there. (details below)

Monday Council meeting

I have three big items regarding Monday’s meeting:

  1. The Mayor is giving his State of the City address; and
  2. He will also be delivering his FY25 City Budget to the Council for review; and
  3. The short term rental legislation I’ve been working on for well over 12-months is coming up for a final vote. And the good news is I expect it will pass. (details below)

State Housing bill update

I wanted to provide some updates on the governor’s "Housing expansion and affordability act of 2024" HB0538 & SB0484, which I have been emailing you about the past few weeks.

Based on my initial analysis, it would appear that our advocacy has paid off! If I’m not mistaken the Governor’s housing bill passed both chambers, but more importantly it was significantly amended in our favor. Here are some of the changes:

  1. Strikes the language regarding Adequate Public Facilities that would have tied our (i.e. local jurisdictions) hands as far as ensuring new development meets our infrastructure standards (i.e. sewer, stormwater, education, etc); and
  2. It improves the language to allow us to impose limitations and restrictions, as long as they don’t amount to a de facto denial, or in the case of lot restrictions (i.e. setbacks, height, parking, etc) as long as they aren’t deemed “unreasonable”; and
  3. Includes language to ensure that when adding housing to non-residential areas there must be a health study done to address environmental justice issues.

It still allows for a modest increase in density by adding “missing middle” to be added, and slight density increases, but it at least allows us to impose guard rails on such development.

I would like to express my gratitude to our local District 30 delegation: Senator Elfreth, Delegate Henson, and Delegate Jones, as well as to the Maryland Municipal League for fighting for us. If you agree, please let them know.

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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State housing bill update & City capital projects

Our next Council meeting will be on Tuesday rather than Monday, due to Maryland Day. I will be joining the meeting virtually. Fortunately, this is a very light meeting. I’ll post details below. But first, here are a few general updates.

Capital Improvement Projects

Last week we received a presentation from the Department of Public Works on all of our Capital Improvement Projects. I created a post on my website if you want to read through the entire list. Otherwise, as an abridged update on Ward 7 projects, we have two remaining: the sidewalk expansion/improvement at the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Moyer Park campus, and the Bay Ridge Ave sidewalk expansion. The former is set to start in 2025, the latter in 2026. I’m putting my list together for FY25 budget requests, so if you have any ideas please send them to me.

Annapolis Ahead 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update

Now that staff and the Planning Commission have submitted the Comprehensive Plan to the Council for review, we have been busy submitting comments and holding some committee meetings discussing it. Based on that feedback, staff is revising the report. We’ll be discussing this at our work session this Thursday at 2pm. I’ve shared Alderman Arnett’s update on my website if you want details on the changes staff has made thus far.

State Housing bill update

I wanted to provide some updates on the governor’s "Housing expansion and affordability act of 2024" HB0538 & SB0484, which I emailed you about last time. As a reminder, I don’t currently like those Bills because they would take away some of our local zoning powers when it comes to requiring adequate public facilities (sewer, water, stormwater, traffic, etc) for certain affordable housing projects. I’ve reached out to the Housing Secretary’s staff about this and made my thoughts known. It’s unfortunate that the Governor’s and Secretary’s first attempt at addressing lack of affordable housing was to utilize a strong-armed approach of limiting and pre-empting our local authority and autonomy. What I suggested instead, was that they should have taken an incentive-based approach. For example, if jurisdictions commit to addressing the affordable housing issue and commit to increasing housing by a certain percentage in their Comprehensive Plans, then perhaps that would then qualify them for adding a percentage or so to the State sales tax locally so that we could have that money go towards an Affordable Housing Infrastructure Fund. That would help address my issue where the State is forcing us to add housing but not helping with the costs of infrastructure.

 Regardless, I have also been in touch with Maryland Municipal League about this legislation (big thank you to State Senator Sarah Elfreth for getting us in touch), as they were only supporting it if it was amended. I’ve reviewed their latest amendments as tentatively approved by the House of Delegates, and I am very pleased with them. They remove entirely the provisions preventing municipalities from applying Adequate Public Facilities requirements to these developments. However, there’s still an issue regarding height that I’m trying to get MML to work on. As written, we couldn’t restrict height at all if it’s determined to be an “unreasonable limitation”. As an example of how height is important, look at the Tecumseh building on Chesapeake Ave. That was built so high that it completely altered the viewscape of the water for all surrounding properties. Clearly that was out of scale, which is why it lead to the creation of the City’s Maritime Districts.  

Bottom line is, I think all of our comments have paid off. So thank you for sending them. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that the MML amendments will be passed and hopefully added to. If you are so inclined, I’m sure an email to our delegation asking them to support the MML amendments would be helpful. 

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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Annapolis Ahead 2040 - Comprehensive Plan Update

Now that staff and the Planning Commission have given the Comprehensive Plan to the Council, we have started our review of said plan. Based on this feedback, staff has started to submit edits, and we will be holding a work session this Thursday. Here is a summary that Alderman Arnett put together regarding the updates:

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Capital Improvement Projects update

Last week we had a work session where the Public Works Department gave us an update on all of the Capital Improvement Projects that are in the current budget. The summary below was put together by Alderman Arnett. 

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State legislation to overrule City zoning

I want to start off by talking about a State issue. I was listening to WYPR’s “On the Record”, where they interviewed Jake Day, the governor’s secretary of housing, about the governor’s "Housing expansion and affordability act of 2024" HB0538 & SB0484, which caused me to read the State bills. What I've found is that this flawed legislation would basically preempt local zoning code, by allowing certain "qualified projects" to avoid the density limits set by local jurisdictions. Qualified projects are affordable housing projects where a non-profit owns the land, or where the State used to own the land, or where a project is near a rail station. For projects where a non-profit owns the land, we would be unable to "impose any unreasonable limitation or requirements" that concern height, setback, bulk, parking, or "similar requirements". It goes further to state that for all "state-funded affordable housing projects" local jurisdictions cannot use our Adequate Public Facilities law to deny or restrict (if it may cause adverse impact such as impacting viability or degree of affordability or the allowable density) said project". This would mean that we may not be able to require adequate water capacity, sewer capacity, police & fire, roads, sidewalks, stormwater management, cycling, or recreational space (we already exempt such projects from our school APF). What this means is that when this density gets added, the residents living there will have to suffer without adequate infrastructure. Who will pay to make sure they do have adequate infrastructure? The local taxpayers. We would be left holding the bag with no help from the State. They are essentially saying "we care so much about affordable housing that we are going to break down red tape for you by overruling local jurisdictions, but we aren't going to pay for it at all." 

As I raised in my Tuesday Capital op-ed, it's neither fair nor right for us to put new residents or existing residents into this situation. Nor does it further any of our other infrastructure goals (be it transportation/ cycling or public safety). Nor is it right for the State to preempt our local authority. 

Unfortunately, ALL of our local State representatives are supporting this flawed bill. Senator Elfreth and Delegates Henson & Jones are all listed as sponsors. If you have concerns about this, please reach out to them. 

Getting back to Annapolis issues, we have one piece of legislation up for a public hearing (park hours in West Annapolis), and a few pieces up for a final vote. Details below.

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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comp plan public hearing

We have a few things up for a public hearing at Monday’s Council meeting. Most important of those is a hearing on legislation that would adopt the 2024 Comprehensive Plan. For those that don’t know, this plan lays out overall development (and beyond) goals for the the City. There is now an executive summary that I’d encourage you to read over. I suspect we will have a few amendments to the plan, but we won’t get to work on those until after the public hearing. One thing I want to push for is to have a specific cycling infrastructure goal that collects together all of our action items on that matter, since that’s a high priority for me. Creating cycling infrastructure will improve traffic, make our roads safer, improve our health, make mobility more equitable, and improve our economy. It’s a win-win-win-win-win prospect. So expect to see a lot from me regarding this issue over the next few years.

Stay healthy and stay safe,


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