At the Annapolis City Council meeting on October 23rd, the City passed an ordinance sponsored by Ward 8 alderman, Ross Arnett, to restore some transparency in our development review process. Transparency in the review of major developments was stripped out of the process in the “streamlining” ordinance that was passed under the previous administration. The developers, led by Alan Hyatt, have tried to kill the bill in letters, and emails with elected officials over the last month. They and almost succeeded.
Fortunately this time, Big Development lost. Citizens won.
But guess who was on the wrong side of this issue?
In a 5 – 4 vote, Mayor Mike Pantelides voted against transparency in the city’s review process for major developments, even as he campaigns with the promises of “Direct bi-partisan efforts to ensure everyone’s voice is heard,” and to “Balance development consistent with the city’s infrastructure and historic character.”
Ward 2 Alderman Fred Paone was right behind the mayor to crush Annapolis citizens’ rights to have a voice in large-scale development.
Many concerned citizens heard testimony at the meeting including that of Leo Wilson who amplified the developers’ combined message that citizens do not deserve to receive notice early or have a seat at the table in the review process for major developments in our town.
Also of note, Julie Mussog, the Republican running against Alderman Arnett, who sponsored the bill, didn’t testify at city council to advocate for the citizens she seeks to represent, nor offer amendments to the ordinance.
On Mike Pantelides’ recent campaign flyer for his re-election bid, he promises “to ensure all resident’s voices are heard.” Apparently, he still hears the sound of developers’ voices a lot louder than the average citizen’s.
Yasemin Jamison is the founder of Anne Arundel County Indivisible.
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