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Determination runs deep for both sides in Quiet Waters debate

The Reserve at Quiet Waters will not go down without a fight. The Annapolis Board of Appeals rejected the proposed development a year ago. A recent ruling from an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court overturned that decision, taking the developer one step closer to breaking ground.

The plan is to build 150 homes on approximately 39 acres adjacent to Quiet Waters Park. While the Maryland-based developer has promised that the new community will be both environmentally sensitive and an asset to Annapolis, opponents have focused on the potential harm to wildlife in the park and the increase in traffic along Forest Drive.

In its decision, the court called the appeals board's rejection of the plan "arbitrary and capricious." The board's four members considered the development's impact on traffic and utilities in the area, how it would incorporate the natural features of the property and other aspects of the project; in all, there were six specific criteria.

Each category was put to a vote. Three of the six met with the full board's approval; the remaining three were each approved by a 3 to 1 vote. The board then voted on the project as a whole.

It was this last vote that the court found arbitrary: The board voted 3 to 1 against the project. According to the court, the board had decided, without notice and without explanation, that approving the project required a unanimous vote on each of the six criteria.

The court issued an order approving the construction application. The board will not have another chance to look at the proposal.

The two sides have gone back and forth about the project for two years. The dispute will not end soon, either, if the opposition appeals the decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

At the time the circuit court's decision came down, neither party could be reached for comment.

Source: Capital Gazette, "Anne Arundel judge reverses decision on Quiet Waters development," Jack Lambert, Sep. 14, 2013

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