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,


Next Council meeting – 3/26/24 (agenda)

This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, YouTube, Facebook, and the City website.  You can submit public testimony at This will be an in-person meeting.

Public Hearings

  • O-4-24 - Residency Requirement for Liquor Licensees Repeal - For the purpose of eliminating the residency requirement for receiving a City of Annapolis liquor license in accordance with state law; and generally dealing with license applications.

Legislation being introduced on first reader

  • R-11-24 - Filing of Grant Application with the Transit Administration - For the purpose of authorizing to file an application with the Maryland Transit Administration of the Maryland Department of Transportation for a Section 5303, 5304, 5307, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5316 and/or 5317 grant(s) under the Federal Transit Act for a total amount of $3,960,846, consisting of $2,616,469 for fixed route transit operations; $144,157 for ADA complementary paratransit services; $795,220 capital grant for transit vehicle maintenance; and $405,000 for roof replacement with solar panels.
  • R-13-24 - 2024 Annapolis Film Festival Fee Waiver - For the purpose of identifying the Annapolis Film Festival that will be held on April 4-7, 2024, as a Major Special Event; and waiving charges for certain City of Annapolis costs related to city services for that event.

Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)

There is no legislation up for a second reader this evening.

Community & Political updates

Tuition award contest

The ABMF (American Battlefield Memorial Foundation) is having an essay contest. Top prize is $10,000

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  • Rob Savidge