In 2015, the city’s planning director determined the allowable density for the Eastport Shopping Center. That guidance was the basis for two years of work and expenses by the developer.
Then politicians got involved. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the city hired outside counsel to second-guess its own interpretation of the code.
If the city can’t be trusted to interpret its own code, who can be?
I own a home across from the shopping plaza. This revitalization is extremely important to my family and me. And make no mistake: Something must be done. The traditional neighborhood strip mall is a relic of a bygone era. Without a true “anchor” business, sea changes in consumer behavior will make the existing center a white elephant.
One only needs to look around Annapolis to see that well-planned mixed-use projects are game-changers. Annapolis Towne Centre has revitalized an asphalt wasteland and Park Place has become a vibrant capstone to the top of West Street.
I have tremendous respect for the long-term Eastport residents and the culture they have created. Change is always difficult.
But we have a good project on the table, with a local owner, not some national private equity firm, a local architect and an engaged and responsive development team. They have finalized a plan to revitalize the existing center, provide additional recurring tax revenue to the city and add tangible benefits to Eastport residents.
Editor’s notebook: An untimely departure
It’s time for Alderman Ross Arnett and Mayor Mike Pantelides to put politics aside and move forward with Eastport Landing.