Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen has harsh words for activists who drove a prospective waterfront developer out of town.
Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, was leading a group that planned to buy the vacant Fawcett Boat Supplies building at City Dock and replace it with a two-and-a-half story building set back from the water.
Ordan walked away from the deal on Monday, citing strong and vocal opposition he encountered.
Cohen, who was pushing for a zoning change to enable the redevelopment, blasted opponents of the plan, some of who organized recently as the Coalition to Save Annapolis.
In a 629-word statement issued at midday Tuesday, the mayor said the coalition refused to work with Ordan's team and instead "chose obstruction."
"Let me make it very clear: Save Annapolis has saved nothing except a cinder block eyesore in the floodplain that has sat vacant for years, blocking the historic vista of lower Main Street and blocking public access along the water," Cohen wrote.
Cohen said he planned to meet with Save Annapolis leaders, and expressed hope to find common ground with them.
"It is fitting that this property is located on Compromise Street, because compromise is what we need," Cohen wrote. "Not obstruction, not protests, but a collaborative effort to achieve a shared goal of revitalizing this blighted property in the heart of downtown."
For its part, Save Annapolis issued a statement saying its members hope Cohen will withdraw his rezoning bill and have the city do more studies on City Dock.
"We look forward to partnering with Mayor Cohen to develop a great plan that improves City Dock while preserving our heritage and reputation as a beautiful historic seaport," the group wrote.
Save Annapolis members plan to march in the Independence Day parade in Annapolis on Thursday.
Others have weighed in on the deal's demise, as well.
Republican mayoral candidate Bob O'Shea said in a statement that he would support a proposal for the Fawcett site if it has the input of local residents and business owners. "I hope all interested parties take this opportunity to re-evaluate the process so that it is more inclusive," he wrote.
Heather Hurtt, founder of a group called CONNECTAnnapolis that wants a more pedestrian-friendly downtown, lamented the fact that opponents "just killed the deal of a lifetime."
The Fawcett property and Annapolis City Dock overall will be discussed at the next Annapolis City Council meeting on July 8.
The council is expected to hold public hearings on a new master plan for City Dock as well as Cohen's rezoning legislation for the Fawcett property.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun