Annapolis Dems to City Leaders: Increase Access to Waterways Immediately

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Dear Mayor Buckley and the Members of the City Council,

As the disparity between the rich and poor in this city continues to grow, we cannot help but comment on your role in an area that you can remedy, right now.

The recent matter of Alderman Gay and his friends being stopped by police for trying to access the water along Spa Creek was a wake-up call. Water access is going away for all but the very rich in our town. You have long advocated for increasing water access for the entire public in Annapolis. You won the endorsement of several key environmental organizations based upon this position. Now is the time for you to keep your word. 

Over the last few years, the Annapolis Yacht Club built two wonderful extensions in Eastport and gated off both to the community. Well before that happened, private homes and condominium communities snatched up much of the shoreline in Eastport. While every major transition report, Parks and Recreation recommendation and our comprehensive plan calls for adding more public access to our Creeks, your administration has done nothing to advance the goal. If you do not secure a small public access easement soon, you will lose the opportunity to keep continued public access to the water in this part of Eastport.

When Bret Anderson and his partners purchased Annapolis’s iconic Sarles and Petrini boatyards in Eastport, Mr. Anderson won over some in the community and the city with his promise that the newly established SAYC would continue to allow neighbors to launch kayaks, SUPs and stroll along the shoreline as its predecessor boat yards had. The findings of the Planning Commission included the statement: “Public access to the waterfront must be clarified and protected.”

 The weak condition contained in the approval letter by Planning and Zoning does NOT reflect the developers’ stated commitment to continued water access for the neighborhoods surrounding SAYC, nor your promise. The misrepresentations and failure to follow our maritime zoning code give you the both the authority and right to demand SAYC put a small area of its waterfront into a dedicated easement for the neighborhood residents to access the water. Sarles and Petrini boatyards were not residential communities. Do not let the SAYC development convert that section of Spa Creek to yet another residential community blocking public access to our local waters.

We have former Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer to thank for the street end parks from Burnside out the Eastport peninsula to First Street that provide water access. However, water access is severely lacking in Eastport further up the peninsula, closer to the lower income areas of the Eastport community. Allowing more of our public access to slip away disproportionately impacts the least wealthy neighbors in our community. 

We implore you to step in now and correct this injustice. 


Sincerely,

Tom McCarthy, Ward 1 (Chairman)
Phebe McPherson, Ward 2
Norvain Sharps, Ward 3
Toni Strong Pratt, Ward 4
Quentin Cummings, Ward 5
Loni Moyer, Ward 6
Mary Anne Arnett, Ward 7
Frieda Wildey, Ward 8
Kurt Riegel, At-Large  

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