Legal pact for project made final


Members of an advisory committee reviewing redevelopment plans for the former David Taylor Research Center received a draft last night of the legal document setting terms for demolition and construction at the Navy property near Annapolis.

The redevelopment agreement, which County Executive Janet S. Owens will sign with Annapolis Partners, the development team, has been in the works for weeks. It was made final hours before the committee met, county officials said.

"This is a significant milestone in this long-term project," Owens said in a written statement. "The agreement reflects years of discreet negotiated points between the county, Navy and Annapolis Partners."

The document lays out rules for redevelopment of the Severn River site, including requirements for developers to submit amendments to the county if they want to modify plans; and limits on building size, car trips and parking. The size and impact of the project have been of great concern to Broadneck residents, some of whom think it will bring chaos to quiet neighborhoods.

"It will take some time to study [the agreement], but I think all the key elements are here," said Denis Canavan, the county's planning and zoning officer, who provided the committee with guidelines for reviewing the 25-page document.

Committee members will review the agreement with legal experts and county officials at a meeting Feb. 21. Members repeated last night that they might need more time to go over the document to make sure it matches a 1997 reuse plan for the property. Some members could take the document to their own legal experts for analysis before deciding whether to approve it, they said.

The redevelopment agreement must also be adopted by the County Council, whose members are to receive copies at a work session March 12, said Jerome W. Klasmeier, the county's special projects coordinator.

Protracted review of the agreement could further delay the project, which has advanced in slow motion since the research center closed in 1999 - partly because committee members, many of whom live near the site, and county officials have never trusted each other. The project is at least a year behind schedule.

Besides the redevelopment agreement, county officials have yet to decide on a sale price for the 46-acre site, a real estate gem because of its size and its location across the Severn River from the Naval Academy.

Several years ago, the county wanted $4 million to $7 million for the site after it receives the property from the Navy. At the meeting yesterday, Klasmeier said county officials and developers have "reached some sort of consensus" regarding a purchase price, but declined to be more specific.

The development team includes local businessman Maurice B. Tose of TeleCommunications Systems and Mesirow Financial of Chicago.

Developers have said they could spend $200 million at the site to turn it into a luxurious business park. But those familiar with the project say it could be years before anything more than a low, maritime-inspired office building goes up for use by Tose and employees.

Seven buildings, including one with a small hotel and waterside restaurant, are part of Annapolis Partners' long-range plan. Buildings would be grouped by campuses, which would be buffered by trees. A meandering path and docks would provide outdoor diversions for workers and visitors.

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