The Land Use chapter is intimately related to the Municipal Growth chapter as it provides more detailed guidance on how the land of the City should be used and leveraged to provide maximum public benefit. New policy tools and adjustments to existing tools, particularly the City’s zoning code, are the primary means to guide land use as they can effectively ensure that new development happens where it is most sensible and appropriate, and is sensitive to its surrounding context.
Simplify the zoning code so that it is easier to develop infill projects that complement the neighborhoods and creeksheds where they are located.
- New zoning standards are adopted for a set of new mixed use place types which help to consolidate and simplify the City’s zoning districts.
- By 2030, small area plans have been prepared for the City’s creek watershed areas that coordinate land use with environmental goals.
Action 1: Amend the Zoning Ordinance, as recommended herein, to bring its requirements into better alignment with the desire for compatibility between new and existing development.
Action 2: Prepare small area plans for each of the City’s creek watershed areas that coordinate land use with environmental goals to support both the continued improvement of the City’s waterways and a model for sensible infill development. (also listed with goal WR 3 in the Water Resource element)
Action 3: Create illustrations of generally acceptable building design principles for each of the Development Types identified in this chapter and use as models for the character of new construction that is expected.
Action 4: Specifically promote infill development and redevelopment in the Upper West Street corridor to facilitate the creation of a walkable community where new housing options and neighborhood commercial uses coexist with and enhance the existing Parole community. (also listed in the Housing element under goal H 1)
Promote the improvement and re-investment in vacant or underutilized parcels.
- By 2040, the aggregate assessed value of property designated as vacant or underutilized will have increased at a rate at least twice that of the City’s overall assessable base.
Action 1: Implement a policy of assertively promoting and incentivizing the repurposing and redevelopment of existing buildings and sites within the City, particularly those with high impervious coverage and no stormwater facilities. This includes removing unnecessary obstacles and delays in the plan review and approval process and overall streamlining of redevelopment applications.
Action 2: Assemble a suite of tax and other incentives to bring about the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized properties especially those projects with designs that create more walkable environments and deliver public benefits within the neighborhoods where they are located.
Action 3: Utilize the redevelopment priority framework provided in this chapter to map and clarify those properties which should be prioritized for improvement and re-investment.
Identify zoning language adjustments to the residential districts that will help to bring about more housing options for workforce and middle-income residents.
- The number of housing units per acre will increase commensurate with the quality of their community design and provided public services and facilities are available.
- The share of total housing units in Annapolis in housing types with two, three and four units will grow from 6% to 15% by 2030 and to 25% by 2040.
Action 1: Increase the allowable housing unit density in the current R-3 and R-4 zones to levels better matched with the vibrant activity center Annapolis has become since these districts were first applied. Current zoning standards enshrine a low density suburban and automobile dependent development pattern in many places which is incompatible not only with the historic patterns that characterize Annapolis but with the many goals of this Plan.
Action 2: Amend the Zoning Ordinance to encourage multiple housing types that can fit compatibly within each of the City’s residential zoning districts. As guidance, housing types that can fit compatibly within existing single-family neighborhood are shown in Chapter 3: Housing, under Housing Goal 4.
Support and sustain the expansion of businesses and private sector employment and the revitalization of the tourism sector (including restaurants and retail) which has been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
- Between 2020 and 2040, the number of jobs within the City’s the light industrial sector will increase.
- By 2025 the restaurant and tourism sector will have surpassed its economic productivity levels recorded at the beginning of 2019, before the shut-downs related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Action 1: Maintain the City’s zoning for light industrial use and explore the interest among major industrial landholders for preparing a master plan to promote the expansion of existing firms and the modernization of the industrial district generally.
Action 2: The City’s economic development efforts should focus on business retention, intensification and expansion within areas zoned for light industrial use and in areas zoned for maritime businesses.
Action 3: Coordinate with the maritime sector to facilitate its modernization and response to evolving economic conditions in the maritime and tourism industries.
Action 4: Consider economic development incentives to support the return of businesses into street level storefronts and restaurants.
Action 5: The City’s economic development efforts should focus on business retention, intensification and expansion within mixed use areas.
Protect and secure the historic resource values of downtown Annapolis while promoting both its economic vitality and its role as the central civic gathering place for the City's residents.
- The City estimated number of downtown visitors (and hotel occupancy rates) remain at or exceed levels set prior to COVID-19 pandemic through 2040.
- The square footage of leased commercial floor area remains at or exceed levels set prior to COVID-19 pandemic through 2040.
- Between 2020 and 2040, the population of fulltime residents within the Historic District will increase.
Action 1: Build the infrastructure needed to protect downtown from both routine nuisance flooding and the flooding associated with sea level rise and storm surge or facilitate the enhancement of the most at-risk buildings.
Action 2: Implement the consensus plan of the City Dock Action Committee. (also listed in the Arts & Culture element under goal AC 4)
Action 3: Continue to maintain stringent historic preservation requirements in downtown to protect the City’s architectural and city planning heritage.
Action 4: Enact legislation that compels property owners within the Historic District, prioritizing those on Main Street, to update sprinkler systems by 2025.
Action 5: Explore expansion of the current historic tax credit budget, with priority offered to projects that activate upper floors with moderately-priced dwelling units.
Link the city together with a network formed by the city’s remaining natural areas, improved open spaces, parks, and institutional uses.
- Update the Greenway Map annually
- Establish at least one contiguous greenway within each of the City’s creek watersheds by 2030
Action 1: Design, adopt and implement a Greenway Plan that identifies lands which provide significant environmental, recreation, aesthetic, and/or health benefits and details strategies to maintain the values these lands provide; The plan should be managed jointly by the Annapolis Conservancy Board and the Department of Planning and Zoning, updated regularly, and coordinated with Anne Arundel County’s Green Infrastructure Plan. (also listed with the Community Facilities element under goal CF 1)
Action 2: In the review and approval of infill and redevelopment projects, align parkland dedications and required open space set-asides to promote the interconnection of open spaces across parcels.
Action 3: Require that public access easements be established within areas set aside for future open space or planted for required forest conservation.
Action 4: Recognizing the innumerable benefits of street tree planting including reducing the heat island effect, air quality improvement, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and traffic calming, design certain streets to be part of the Greenway Plan and elevate the importance of street tree planting and coordinated landscaping along properties with street frontage.
Action 5: Use the City’s forest conservation requirements to direct conservation and afforestation in ways that build larger networks of connected forests in Annapolis.
Action 6: Explore opportunities to plant trees on HACA property and on County property within the City limits, including schools and libraries. (Also listed under goal ES 2 in the Environmental Sustainability element)
Action 7: Amend the zoning ordinance and map to create and apply Environmental Enhancement areas guided by the Future Land Use Map. Environmental Enhancement areas are property parcels that either already offer ecological benefits or should be improved to do so, but are not appropriate to serve as active parkland.
Action 8: Enact an agreement with the County that establishes the City’s right to direct and use its share of Program Open Space funds for the protection and enhancement of lands within its jurisdiction. Such an agreement should detail the specific uses of the funds.
Action 9: Improve coordination between City departments and City Boards/Commissions tasked with environmental protection, including the Annapolis Conservancy Board, to ensure properties being reviewed for development or permitting are considered in a fuller context, taking into account the property’s opportunities for conservation and easements within the property as well as connections to surrounding open space, conservation and trail systems.