The Annapolis City Council passed legislation last night to revitalize the industrial parks along Chinquapin Round Road and ratified a labor agreement with its blue-collar employees, guaranteeing them job security through next June.
To revive the area that bottlers and other industries have abandoned, the council created a new Business Corridor Enhancement District that allows owners to redevelop the land for commercial use.
City officials are hoping that the potential for commercial development and the recent completion of Aris T. Allen Boulevard to Chinquapin Round Road will entice the owners to re-invest.
City Planning Director Eileen Fogarty said the law sets new standards to make the area more attractive. As redevelopment occurs, owners would be required to landscape, upgrade parking facilities and consolidate lot entrances.
Alderman Samuel Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat, said the law will allow the development of shopping centers, offices, restaurants and car dealerships as well as traditional industrial uses.
Also last night, the council ratified a new one-year contract with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3406, which represents about 105 city bus drivers, sanitation workers and other blue-collar employees.
The city's labor agreements with its four employee unions expired three months ago.
The police union is considering an offer while negotiations continue with the firefighters and white-collar union. About 300 city employees are represented by the four unions.
Local 3406 members last week accepted the agreement, which gives them a 2 percent salary increase and guarantees that they will not lose their jobs to private contractors at least through next June. City officials have been considering privatizing some city services, such as trash collection, in hopes of reducing the cost.
AFSCME representative Cecilia Fabula said the union is not happy with the agreement. But she said employees were worried about operating without a contract and the protection of grievance procedures.
"Employees are demoralized," Ms. Fabula said. "The stinking 2 percent increase doesn't even cover the additional cost to the employees of the new health plan."
In other action, the council adopted a resolution encouraging owners of the Annapolis Mall to restore a bus stop near one of its entrances. The mall recently moved the bus stop to the middle of its parking lot, angering many of its elderly shoppers and other commuters.