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Annapolis office park: rezoning can be a complex deal

When a developer gets the idea to build a new subdivision, apartment building, store, office facility or even a sports park, they can’t just find the perfect piece of land and start digging a hole. There are a large number of logistics that need to be worked out first. Each factor is complicated in its own regard, but zoning deals can be one of the most intricate.

Take the development project for a new Annapolis office park. The blueprints for this project are for a 227,000 square foot office park; an idea that was formed back in 2009. There was one major hitch; the proposed site was zoned as open space. After some extensive negotiation, the developers finally broke ground in November.

What was the end result of these negotiations? The 28-acre property purchased from a longtime city landowner for $1.7 million was rezoned to the necessary C-2. There were a few concerns that needed to be addressed before the rezoning would go through.

One major concern was for the environment. There were old buildings, cars and other abandoned debris that required cleanup on the property. That likely would have occurred with the new building plans, but any new concrete structure can change the surrounding environment. The developer included a promise to build a storm water pond and plant trees and conduct other environment remediation.

The environment wasn’t the only concern. Community members were worried about adding a traffic light and a crosswalk on Riva Road. To work out this issue, the developer obtained an easement for a road that they would put in for access.

Also included in the plans is a softball field for Annapolis High School. It acted as a “quid pro quo” for the easement, said House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis. The developer wasn’t expected to pay for this venture, and the field and necessary details would be funded by $5 million in state grant money.

These details of the zoning agreement and project itself take some effort, and a real estate attorney can help get a development project off the ground.

Source: Capital Gazette, “New office park, softball diamond near Annapolis High,” Wendi Winters, Nov. 14, 2013

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