Anne Arundel can escape its growth Ponzi scheme

Appearing in The Capital, September 18, 2016

Anne Arundel County has been fortunate over the years to have steady economic opportunities, due in part to our location near large metropolitan areas as well as a strong federal and state job base. These economic opportunities, along with a rich history, quaint historic areas and miles of coastline on the Chesapeake Bay make Anne Arundel an attractive place to live.

County residents want significant limits on growth to maintain their quality of life. They also insist on high-quality services like roads, public safety and education — along with low taxes. In the short term, the county can attempt to solicit more money from the state and federal governments, borrow more and promote land development to increase the tax base. But the federal and state governments have their own fiscal problems, and so are contributing less. Borrowing, such as with the recent lengthening of bond terms, has a limited effect. This leaves growth as the primary tool for raising the needed revenue.

Growth in and of itself is not bad. When done in a long-term, fiscally sustainable manner, growth builds wealth for residents, business and the county. The 2009 General Development Plan discusses balancing land use, growth and fiscal policies, but much of the development in the county continues to be auto-centric, even in the targeted growth areas like Parole and Odenton.

We often forget that auto-centric suburban development is an experiment that has never been tried anywhere before. We assume it is the natural order of things because it is what we see all around, and in our collective psyche is the “American dream,” a non-negotiable way of life that must be maintained at all costs. But it is only in the last two generations that we have scaled places to the automobile. What we are finding is that the underlying financing mechanisms of the suburban era operate like a classic Ponzi scheme, with ever-increasing rates of growth necessary to sustain long-term liabilities.

The root of the problem is that auto-centric development, in which residential and commercial areas are widely separated, requires tremendous amounts of land as well as infrastructure that is costly to build and maintain, while yielding very low tax revenue per acre. As long as strong growth continues and new revenue is generated to cover the short-term costs, we have the illusion of wealth because we are delaying infrastructure maintenance and personnel costs. This is the current state of Anne Arundel County.

Even with robust growth, we are starting to see the effects of these long term-liabilities, as indicated in the General Development Plan:

“Over the years, due to rising construction costs and other factors, the county has struggled to keep pace with the ongoing demand for maintenance, renovation and rehabilitation, and replacement of existing infrastructure and facilities that have been in place to serve the existing population and employment base.”

For citizens, this is most visible in the roads and traffic resulting from this development pattern. We cannot build our way out of congestion — we don’t have the land and most certainly don’t have the money. Yet we continue to promote development that virtually requires the use of an automobile.

The General Development Plan has goals, policies and actions to produce fiscally productive development, yet our specific regulations that developers must follow still produce the same patterns: greatly separated residential and commercial areas; big, dangerous roads; throwaway strip malls and parking lots. All this requires lots of driving. And it does not generate enough tax revenue to maintain the required infrastructure. We need to change these regulations to return to a traditional pattern of development in which neighborhoods are at a human scale with appropriate mixed use — places where people can walk or bike for many of their daily needs — while having viable transit options to connect these neighborhoods with the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas. There are still many places like this remaining in the country, such as the suburbs built before World War II. We should be emulating them for a fiscally sustainable future.

This essay was part of Becoming the best is a series of essays exploring the question of what it would take to make Annapolis and Anne Arundel County “the best.”

The Kobayashi Maru Test

Last night, the Annapolis Planning Commission faced their Kobayashi Maru test. How will they decide whether access to the Rocky Gorge planned development is via Aris T Allen Boulevard or Yawl Rd: place the lives of Rocky Gorge residents in grave danger by turning off and on a highway or assuring the destruction of the Oxford Landing neighborhood with 48 homes worth of traffic down their main street?

Followers of this development have been watching this issue come to a boil slowly over the last two years. But, for those not familiar with the development and this issue specifically, let me recap.

Rocky Gorge is a planned development of 46 units of single family and townhouses south of Aris T Allen Boulevard. For a good overview, you can see the site plans here (76MB) or search for project PD2016-001 on the Annapolis eTRAKiT project tracking site for all the project details.


The project has a long and sordid history with many, many complicated facets. It began with two annexations of land in 2003 and 2005 followed by development approval (SE2005-11-547) and initial grading, the financial crisis of 2008, bankruptcy and sale to a capital management firm and most recently restarting the development in 2014. This history, while important to how we got to this point, is for the most part, water under the bridge, not to mention that the more you dig into understanding the history, the more questions arise. That said, one of the limitations placed on the development by the annexation agreement was no direct access from Aris T Allen Boulevard. However, that was predicated on a “relief road” south of the development, but for many practical and environmental reasons was never, and will never be built.

As the design and review of the restarted development progressed, due to the access limitation in the annexation, Yawl Rd was the only way in and out, straight through the center of the Oxford Landing development built in the late 1980s. And of course the residents objected, so resolution R-33-14 to remove the annexation restrictions was introduced to the City Council. If passed would open the door to alternative access via Aris T Allen Boulevard.  It wound it’s way through the process and was ultimately passed. I wrote about it here and here and the Planning Commission,  Transportation Board, and The Capital also thought it was not a good idea. Once the restriction was removed, it went to the State Highway Administration (SHA) for a decision as they “own” the road (MD 665). After an additional traffic study and meetings with the SHA, access was granted with addition of acceleration and deceleration lanes.


Rocky Gorge – Access Via Yawl Rd

Once this access was granted by SHA, the site plan was substantial altered to change the access from Yawl Rd to Aris T Allen. As such, the project went back to the Planning Commission, which brings us up to date for the meeting last night and the Kobayashi Maru test.


Rocky Gorge – Access Via Aris T Allen (right in right out)

The developer’s representative Allan Hyatt gave a long and somewhat tedious presentation. He is a lawyer and every presentation I have seen him make to a city Board or Panel is treated in language and actions like a trial, explicitly stating everything for the record along with expert testimony, even though the Planning Commission does not officially recognize “expert witnesses” (a point of snickering with the chair). This was a public hearing so a number of people spoke, residents, representatives of ARTMA, the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation, Oxford Landing, and Alderwomen Finlayson/Pindell-Charles, indicating significant safety problems with either access scenario – deadly car crashes on Aris T Allen or kids run over by cars on Yawl Rd.


Those were the only two choices on the table: 1. Approve the application as submitted (design with ingress/egress to Aris T Allen only, other than a pedestrian/emergency connection to Yawl Rd) or 2. Deny the application and revert to the prior approval (design with ingress/egress via Yawl Rd only). Virtually all the Planning Commission members expressed frustration with these equally bad choices. There must be alternatives that would not be unsafe for users Aris T Allen or residents of Oxford Landing, but how? Like Captain Kirk, they chose a different way: leave the public hearing open indefinitely and allow the applicant – who fortunately saw the writing on the wall – to look for alternatives.

It is my hope that all parties involved can think about innovative solutions that attempt to mitigate the compounded mistakes and prior planning decisions that lead up to this scenario and hopefully learn a lesson and apply it future developments. The suburban design pattern of cul de sacs and hierarchical road networks is a detriment to incremental growth that is so important to a healthy Annapolis as it was intended by design to be static and does not scale well. See this short video for a primer on incremental development and why it is important. Much of downtown Annapolis and inner West Street developed this way and has been better off for it.

Raising the Interest and Reducing the Concern

Contemporary cycling in the United States is largely viewed by the public as a recreational endeavor. However, it was not always this way. For distances greater than that easily covered on foot, bicycles were the preferred mode of local transportation prior to the early 1900s when the automobile came into wider use. During the next half decade, bicycles were seen primarily as children’s toys. The 1970s and 1980s brought a new boom in bicycle sales for adult recreational purposes and this was augmented by the “Lance effect” in the early 2000s, introducing a large number of people to performance cycling.

As a result, most infrastructure built in the latter half of the 20th century was geared around this recreational aspect of cycling, primarily off road paths in parks, “rails to trails” efforts and even mountain bike facilities. It is only in the last 10 years that urban areas have started to look again at bicycles as part of their transportation strategy and to construct suitable infrastructure to implement it. By most measures these efforts have been fairly successful in increasing the numbers of transportation cyclists, but still not to a level of places like the Netherlands where there is upwards of 30% bicycle mode share. The United States will likely never achieve that kind of mode share if for no other reason than our systemic land use issues, but in areas where the land use patterns do support bicycle transportation, we can get to more modest shares like that of Portland (7+%). What actions can be taken take to increase this mode share?

Largest Gains

There are four types of transportation cyclists: Strong and Fearless (<1%), Enthused and Confident (7%), Interested but Concerned (60%) and No Way No How (33%). To this I would add a fifth group: “Unseen Bicyclists”, who have no particular interest in cycling other than as a nearly free mode of transportation that is faster than walking. In order to get to work they often must ride in inhospitable areas for cyclists.

In years past, transportation cycling in urban areas has included the three of the five smallest groups, personified by the bike messenger (Strong and Fearless), the racer who decides to commute (Enthused and Confident) and the guy riding the squeaky mountain bike on the sidewalk late at night (Unseen Bicyclist). Together, these groups never reach the critical mass/tipping point where transportation cycling would be seen as something normal people do. The question is how to encourage the largest untapped group (Interested but Concerned) to embrace transportation cycling as a way of life?

Infrastructure Is The Key

I use the word “infrastructure” here as it captures the Zeitgeist, but to be more precise, I mean the built environment that cyclists experience trying to get from place A to place B. Interested but Concerned cyclists who would definitely drive to a safe place to ride recreationally, first and foremost, need to feel safe in order to participate in transportation cycling. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition that, if not met, significantly degrades the return on investment of any infrastructure as it will not be widely used. Critics will point out that there s no demand, and thus a waste of money. The largest factor in achieving this perception of safety is separating cyclists from fast moving vehicles. An on road bike lane on a 6 lane arterial with speeds of 40+ mph, often the result of Complete Streets efforts implemented by state DOTs, while fine for a fast road cyclist, is not going to make the average Interested but Concerned cyclist feel safe.

md2 bike lane

On road bike lane on MD 2 in Edgewater, Maryland. I ride here often, but I am in the Strong and Fearless Group. (Google)

The second condition that must be met to entice Interested but Concerned cyclists is that the routes need to be direct and efficient from a time standpoint. Dedicated cyclists inherently like cycling as an activity and as a result are willing to “pay extra” in terms of time and effort to do it, but in order for regular people to take up transportation cycling, there has to be real value over other modes. Most recreational bicycle facilities that feel safe are often circuitous or if they are direct, require cyclists to stop at every cross street or curb cut or even worse require pressing a beg button and waiting a full light cycle, making the trip an annoying and time consuming process. As Strong Towns pointed out in the “Follow the Rules Bikers” piece, typically our cycling infrastructure is geared to automobiles, which puts bicycles on the same footing as cars. If there is no time saving advantage, why not just drive? That’s what the Interested but Concerned cyclist would do.

Residential neighborhoods with low and slow traffic offer acceptable routes for the Interested but Concerned cyclists and can be direct if the development pattern is a grid of streets with good connectivity. But so often local subdivision regulations or requests by residents close off streets to through traffic and once they are closed, very hard to reopen even for pedestrian or bicycle access. Yet, they can have a significant positive impact on the efficiency of a route.

victor parkway

Victor Parkway in Annapolis, Maryland has a fence between adjacent neighborhoods. The only way around is using a notorious five lane arterial that adds a half mile distance. It took a significant effort with the City of Annapolis to get even the pedestrian gate opened. It helps but is still unpleasant for cyclists. (Google)

Start With An Insider

A decidedly un-Strong Towns approach to getting Interested but Concerned cyclists engaged in transportation cycling would be to advocate for a huge pot of Federal transportation dollars and plan a perfect Shangri La bicycle network. Municipal governments often won’t do anything because of the perfect solution fallacy. They know this approach is not workable so anything incremental is rejected because it isn’t a complete plan and problems would still exist.

A better Strong Towns approach would be to work incrementally starting initially with a “do no harm” mantra and building on that to address the issues mentioned above. The number one action a municipal government can take to prevent further harm is adding a dedicated pedestrian/bicycle planner to the staff who has a seat at the table for any infrastructure development and maintenance projects. The singular focus of a subject matter expert who really understands the perspective of the Interested but Concerned, can point out bad designs before they are implemented. Additionally, the insider cultivating relationships with local cycling advocacy groups can be a force multiplier in this regard, utilizing a broad network of people who understand issues at a hyper-local level. This is the foot in the door that will provide internal advocacy for early input to projects. Collectively that will improve the infrastructure over time to raise the interest and reduce the concern in transportation cycling.

An Illustrative Project

I will end with a local example that highlights how a cycling subject matter expert might have prevented a disaster from happening. In Anne Arundel County, there is an on road bike lane along a well-traveled recreational route to view the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis Maryland where I live. It’s essentially a 4-5’ shoulder with bike lane markings. Not great, but good enough to make the average recreational cyclist comfortable, and sadly one of only two marked bike lanes in a county with 4000 lane miles of road under its jurisdiction.


Bay Ridge Avenue immediately south of Annapolis, Maryland. The driveway on the right is being expanded to accommodate a church expansion.

The expansion of a local church required a turn lane according to the County code. However, this situation was complicated by the presence of a park next door. The park has some recreational paths that are contained within the park and do not serve a transportation purpose in any way. The engineering company that did the design work is a respected regional firm, but the design that was approved by the County makes very little sense from a transportation cyclist’s point of view.

bike squeeze

The bike lane prior to the driveway was replaced with a turn lane. Although common when turn lanes are added, not a good situation for cyclists. But the most egregious change was after the driveway, where the bike lane was blocked with a concrete curb and only resumes after the curb radius where the park path exists to the road. Since virtually all cyclists will be going through, this presents an extremely dangerous situation for cyclists who can get squeezed into the curb by a passing car.

The design makes an assumption that due to the proximity of the park all cyclists are going to be riding on the path around the park – the standard recreational assumption. Because the County does not have a subject matter expert on staff, they assumed that extending the park path in lieu of the bike lane was a benefit, not a detriment. Anyone with local/contextual knowledge would have flagged this design as unresponsive to the typical cyclist pattern and it could have been easily corrected prior to construction with no adverse effect to the church by maintaining the bike lane straight through. Sadly, it was not seen until after concrete had been poured, making a correction difficult and costly.

2016 Frigid Digit

The weekend started out with a lot of rain in the Mid Atlantic on Friday, but at least we knew we wouldn’t get blown out like last year. However, while the wind forecast for Saturday looked pretty good, it promised to be very light on Sunday. There are two conditions that always remind me of the Frigid Digit: Cool, wet, foggy Nor ‘easter-like and bright, brisk, cool northewester after a cold front-like. Both are tricky conditions to sail in with different challenges. This year’s event was no different with the Nor ‘Easter-like version for Saturday.

We delayed on shore for an hour on Saturday morning as the radar map showed a very larger red line heading from the south. Luckily it was just a lot of rain and as soon it passed the 12 (of 16 that registered) set out in 10-15 knots from the Northeast. Unfortunately a number of local sailors all had prior commitments this weekend which kept the turnout a little low. Three windward/leeward (5 leg) races were run by PRO Mark Hasslinger and his crew. According to Carol Cronin, in most beats, staying left until the end of the beat even though your gut told you not to and despite some right shifts, proved to be a winning strategy. It certainly worked for her and Kim Couranz as they jumped out to a good lead by the first weather mark in all three races and easily hung on to the leads even with Kim’s unscheduled “potty break” into the bay (untied hiking strap) in race 2. Behind, the shifts were causing frequent position changes between Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno, Zach Kelchner/Miranda Bakos, Brett Davis/Ashley Love, Gavin/Holly O’Hare, Lisa Pline/Jessica Bennett and Alex Pline/Jill Bennett. In the end Lee/Nikki edged out Alex/Jill for 2nd by a point. One of the nice things about these conditions is the powerboats and the associated Annapolis “washing machine” were nowhere to be seen.

close finish

Squeaking out a 4th in a close  finish in the 3rd race.

We headed back to SSA about 4 pm as the breeze was getting pretty light and the fog and mist was hiding downtown. A nice taco bar was served and the warmth of the clubhouse was much appreciated by the competitors. Afterwards Steve and Sonya Pickel suggested we continue on at the Boatyard Bar and Grill, which a number of us jumped on without any arm twisting. I think we all deep down suspected the chances for any racing on Sunday were slim, so what the heck, might as well continue socializing at one of Annapolis’ fun spots. There were rumors of even a third act over at Davis’ Pub, but too late for this Snipe sailor !

Sunday brought continued light breezes again from the northeast, with cloudy but dry skies. Most of the fleet was late to the starting area as it was a bit farther out than usual, so the start was postponed for about a half hour. Once the race finally got underway, right on schedule the bottom of the breeze fell out quickly about half way up the first beat when the sun poked out from behind the clouds. After 10 minutes of just a few zephyrs, the committee wisely abandoned the race. Even without the postponement is was unlikely the race would have made a complete lap of the course before the wind died. We milled around for another 45 minutes just to confirm everyone suspicions, but it was just not to be so everyone was towed in. At least the sun came out as we were packing up and socializing. In addition to the top three overall, Steve Jahnige/Ryan Jahnige, relatively new Snipe sailors were the top placing boat in the silver fleet. A big thanks to regatta chair Doug Frazee for putting this year’s event together and to Carol Cronin, Andy Klein/Jessica Claflin and Jim Tomassetti/Simon Strauss who braved the dreaded I-95 from north of NY to get to Annapolis.

Full Results:

On Paint and Historic Preservation

The heat is increasing in the dispute between the City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission and property owners/artists in the”Arts District” (inner West Street). Good background can be found in articles in The Capital here, here and here. I am certainly not against historic preservation and it has been good for the city, but when it gets to the point of micromanaging (witness the past tussle over fiberglass columns), the balance has shifted too far. The city would be far better served with efforts like a form based code that dictates the general form – which we all love so much and which will last for a long time – instead of the minutia like paint color/design which can be very ephemeral. The City needs to concentrate on more important things. I think my paraphrase of Justice Potter Stewart’s infamous comment about pornography is à propos.

Time Lapse – Tsunami Mural Annapolis, MD from Power Play Creations on Vimeo.

Dear Mr. Mayor, Members of the City Council and Interested Parties-

I have been following with great interest the debate between property owners and the Historic Preservation Commission concerning whether paint color/design is within the purview of the Commission to regulate. While I understand and appreciate the hard work the Commission has done over the years to keep the town’s historic nature intact, I find the recent issue and potential litigation over the Tsunami mural distasteful at best and a waste of the city’s resources at worst.

Clearly the rules as written are ambiguous and in the words of Justice Potter Stewart in Jacobellis v. Ohio, paraphrased to whether murals of this sort are “architectural alteration”:

“…I know it when I see it, and the mural involved in this case is not that.”

With all of the problems the City has, especially vis-a-vis the budget, this seems to be a complete waste of time and money. Not only that, additional hurdles to utilization and revitalization of the numerous empty properties downtown are the last thing the city needs. Let’s concentrate on problems that really matter.

2016 Snipe North American Championships

Note my finest hour sailing-wise, but I had a great time sailing with Lisa – despite being DSQed in a race for not doing my penalty turns fast enough after getting flagged for pumping.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Doug Hart Back On Top After 20 Years

Doug Hart has always been near the top of the score sheet but it took 20 years to repeat as North American Champion, having won last in the Bahamas in 1996. Sailing this year with Ryan Hopps they took the 2016 North Americans Birney Mills Trophy by a scant two points over George Szabo and Dianna Waterbury after a close last day. The winner was not known by the competitors until the scores were posted at the club because the variety of conditions over the three day regatta resulted in very inconsistent scores over the eight races sailed. In an unusual turn, the scores posted by Szabo/Waterbury were overall more consistent, but Hart/Hopps despite counting a 17 had four top 3 finishes. Nick Voss/Nicole Popp had been lurking well down the results sheet, but once they were able to drop a 45th from day one, they slid up to third overall. Fourth place team Jensen McTighe/Brendan Feeney counted no finish worse than ninth, a great result just ahead of their departure for the Snipe Western Hemispheres in Brazil. Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante rounded out the top 5.

upwind 31313

Upwind on the Chesapeake Bay.

Annapolis Snipe Fleet 532 is experiencing its own comeback. Regatta Chairman and Annapolis Fleet 532 Captain Chris Ryan is a relentless promoter of the Snipe Class and had as a goal to get together the largest collection of Snipes seen on the East Coast for a long time. He succeeded attracting 69 registrants and beat the last two NAs held in Annapolis in 1994 (62 boats) and 1985 (68 boats) as well as being the largest regatta in North America since 2009 with boats arriving on single, double, and triple trailers from all over the continent. This was in part due to encouraging sailors with older model boats to participate with a Silver division and arranging many chartered or borrowed boats to insure that every available local boat would make it on the water. A great sign for the continued growth of the class were a significant number of junior sailors at the event, fresh faces from new teams or new crew members, and a re-emergence of less travelled class members. The event created a significant number of class membership renewals as part of the registration process as all skippers, crews, and boats were registered for the event.

Chris along with the rest of the fleet volunteers, the Severn Sailing Association (SSA), PRO Steve Podlich and his handpicked race committee put together a great event despite tryingly light conditions at the beginning of the regatta. Annapolis typically holds this regatta in the fall when the breeze is freshening as the temperatures drop, but for this edition the NAs was held concurrently with the Colonial Cup, the annual SSA Snipe Spring Invitational. In keeping with the nutty weather the mid-Atlantic has been experiencing this year – the spring felt more like Seattle than Annapolis – with less than a week to go, the forecast was for light easterly breezes and cooler temperatures throughout the weekend. For those who don’t know the Chesapeake Bay weather, easterly breezes coupled with cool overcast conditions are almost never a good prognosis.

As boats streamed in on Thursday, fleet members Brett Davis, Steve Pickle and Jon and Happy Anthony with their teams got all boats through measurement and registration. The class approach to streamlining measurement helped speed the process by limiting measurement to boat weight and new sail measurements. It was hoped to run a practice race Thursday afternoon, but the breeze completely turned off after a few boats left the dock for a practice sail: a bad omen. On the social side, the regatta saw the return of a large tent to be used for evening dinners as well as a real beer truck (well trailer, but close enough!), something not seen on the SSA lot for some years: a good omen.

Friday morning started as predicted with a light, but sailable easterly and racing began promptly at 11am. Fortunately, being a weekday the pleasure boat traffic was nonexistent so the 5-7 knot breeze, although tricky, was enough. Starts were very competitive causing multiple recalls and a steady appearance of I and Z flags. The downstream current at the start pushing competitors towards the starting line did not help and contributed to the number of general recalls and affected which side of the course was favored. As the first race progressed the breeze got lighter and lighter, but still a fair test of skill and the first boat finished within several minutes of the 90 minute time limit, but unfortunately a number of boats did not make the time limit window. After a pause, the wind came back up and a second race was run in similar conditions, with only a few boats not making the time limit window. Hart/Hopps showed their light air prowess with two firsts. Eventually Steve Podlich called it a day and the fleet headed in for the evening’s social activities and Taco Bar dinner.

On Saturday, a very patient race committee ran three races. The first was (as expected) sailed in a very light southeast wind. The ebbing current was wreaking even more havoc on the starting line than the day before and the Z flag (20%) penalties figured prominently on the scoresheet for race 3. It looked like it might be the end of the day after race three with the breeze going down to nearly zero, but wisely Steve Podlich chose to keep us out waiting and eventually the breeze came around to a southerly direction and increased slightly when the clouds began to clear. With the current abated and the wind shift to the south, the second two starts were much more manageable for the competitors (and the race committee) and even got crews and skippers into the hiking straps by the last leg. With more consistent scores and no drop (yet) Szabo/Waterbury finished the day tied with Hart/Hopps. Back on shore the competitors participated in a post-race debrief followed by a crab-themed dinner including MD hard shelled crabs. The “locals” had a lot of fun introducing “out of towners” to the proper technique for “picking crabs” as it is called.

Once again, Sunday started light with current pushing competitors over the line, the appearance of the Z flag, multiple recalls and a lot of alphabet soup on the score sheet in race 6. But for race 7 the breeze finally increased out the south to the point where skipper and crews were full out hiking and the “Annapolis Washing Machine” was on – at least the medium rinse setting anyway – thanks to the Chesapeake chop and pleasure boat wake. This was the quintessential Annapolis condition that we all know and love and it was great to finally see it given the earlier forecast. Despite the breeze beginning to fade, after race 7 the race committee “leap frogged” the course to start the last race with plenty of time to spare. It was a shorter course, a little less than an hour race to close out the 8 race series, a pleasant surprise the way it looked on Thursday. The fleet blasted in as the breeze increased with the impending approach of a cold front, but thankfully the predicted thunderstorms didn’t materialize until after most competitors had packed up.

In addition to the awarding the Birney Mills Trophy to the North American champion, the Kim Thompson Trophy for the top crew and the Colonial Cup Trophy to Hart and Hopps, awards were presented to Fleet 532 members Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud for the Silver division and Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney for the Junior division, both scored separately within those divisions. The Chuck Loomis Trophy was also awarded to Jensen McTighe as the top placing Junior in the overall score.

This was definitely not a “one setting” regatta and being able to perform consistently in the top three in a wide variety of conditions was the key to success. Variety may be the spice of life, but it is also a great test of skill.

–Alex Pline

Series Standing – 8 races scored

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 20/ 31297 Doug Hart/Ryan Hopps Mission Bay Yacht Club 1 1 2 [25] 4 17 6 3 34.00 1
2 57/ 30337 George Szabo/Dianna Waterbury San Diego Yacht Club 4 8 7 [11] 3 4 4 6 36.00 2
3 63/ 28814 Nicholas Voss/Nicole Popp Coral Reef Yacht Club 3 [45] 5 4 6 12 8 5 43.00 3
4 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 8 5 [32] 8 9 7 3 8 48.00 4
5 09/ 31027 Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante FEVELA/SYC [70/OCS] 2 10 13 5 2 2 16 50.00 5
6 49/ 31130 Ernesto Rodriguez/Eduardo Supercrew no club affiliation 7 [22] 3 16 7 11 5 2 51.00 6
7 08/ 30288 Augie Diaz/Julia Melton BBYC/CRYC/CGSC 21 6 6 7 1 1 [24] 10 52.00 7
8 02/ 30473 Arthur Blodgett/Terra Berlinski no club affiliation 9 7 1 3 [27] 3 12 17 52.00 8
9 34/ 28854 Randy Lake/Nikki Bruno no club affiliation 5 4 12 [19] 2 14 19 1 57.00 9
10 05/ 30860 Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz Severn Sailing Association 16 [18] 13 2 11 6 11 4 63.00 10
11 21/ 29114 David Hernandez/Christine DeSilva Coral Reef Yacht Club 6 11 [21] 10 10 15 1 11 64.00 11
12 16/ 8653 Hal Gilreath/Andre Guaragna Florida Yacht Club 12 3 17 18 8 5 [22] 9 72.00 12
13 03/ 31171 Jim Bowers/Julia Rabin Winchester Boat Club 2 24 [27] 5 17 9 25 12 94.00 13
14 67/ 29682 Wilson Stout/Byran Stout no club affiliation 15 19 18 1 12 19 [23] 20 104.00 14
15 47/ 30759 Enrique Quintero/Simon Sanders Coral Reef Yacht Club 20 [62] 15 12 15 10 9 23 104.00 15
16 14/ 30903 Cameron Fraser/Elizabeth Glivinski Medford Boat Club 22 9 [47] 15 23 18 10 21 118.00 16
17 45/ 31355 Andrew Pimental/Megan Place Sail Newport [29] 27 14 27 14 22/ZFP 7 13 124.00 17
18 18/ 30904 Lee Griffith/Hillary Noble Surf City Yacht Club 19 20 4 30 13 22 20 [32] 128.00 18
19 51/ 31280 Art Rousmaniere/Jesscia Bennett Winchester Boat Club 23 23 9 9 20 27/ZFP 17 [37] 128.00 19
20 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard Severn Sailing Association 18 13 8 28 21 24 [32] 22 134.00 20
21 55/ 29044 Sonya Smith/Steve Pickel Severn Sailing Association 10 16 [36] 22 26 26 15 26 141.00 21
22 31/ 29782 Zachery Kelchner/Lauren Schoene Severn Sailing Association 13 31 23 26 19 20 [35] 19 151.00 22
23 07/ 29671 Tarasa Davis/Kim Calnan Atlanta Yacht Club 25 26 30 24 34 [42/ZFP] 13 7 159.00 23
24 13/ 28142 Bryan Fishback/Lorie Stout Severn Sailing Association 11 33 26 36 31 [41/ZFP] 21 14 172.00 24
25 39/ 30629 Gavin O’Hare/Holly O’Hare Eastport Yacht Club 24 21 [42] 31 22 32 27 25 182.00 25
26 58/ 31013 John Tagliamonte/Linda Epstein Winchester Boat Club 37 [70/DNF] 39 20 16 31 18 27 188.00 26
27 65/ 30606 Peter Wolcott/Kerri Wolcott Quassapaug Sailing Center 34 28 24 6 32 [54/ZFP] 41 24 189.00 27
28 23/ 30500 Brian Hetherington/Max Hetherington SSA 40 15 [54/ZFP] 17 37 30 28 28 195.00 28
29 56/ 30749 Christopher Stang/Lindsey Stang no club affiliation 41 [42] 16 32 25 37/ZFP 29 18 198.00 29
30 06/ 30391 Brett Davis/Christina Perrson SSA 17 10 41 39 36 35/ZFP [70/DNF] 30 208.00 30
31 46/ 31313 Alex Pline/Lisa Pline SSA 30 32 59/ZFP 14 24 [70/DSQ] 38 15 212.00 31
32 32/ 30687 Sean Kelly/Trisha Kutkiewicz SSA 38 25 44 40 29 [45] 30 29 235.00 32
33 48/ 31357 Eric Reinke/Morgan Commette SSA 33 12 25 29 28 43/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 240.00 33
34 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA [53/TLE] 40 19 23 38 52 36 33 241.00 34
35 64/ 30325 Harry Waskow/Rosalind Hansen Surf City Yacht Club 14 48 22 [52] 41 48/ZFP 43 31 247.00 35
36 04/ 30262 John Coolidge Atlanta Yacht Club 44 37 [70/ZFP] 21 35 36 39 36 248.00 36
37 53/ 24089 David Schoene/Sandy Westphal SSA 35 17 34/ZFP 48 46 [70/DNF] 34 38 252.00 37
38 29/ 30928 Chris Jankowski/Eleanor Wells SSA 31 30 38 33 18 39/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 259.00 38
39 10/ 29147 Liz Dubovik/Alex Romagnoli Chatham Yacht Club [53/TLE] 14 33 34 53 37 45 44 260.00 39
40 35/ 31256 Ed Machado/Jon Robertson Mission Bay YC 39 29 37 54 [58] 42 14 46 261.00 40
41 28/ 29536 Julian Inglis/Nathan Poulton GCBC 36 38 28 45 [49] 47/ZFP 33 34 261.00 41
42 66/ 29111 Joel Zackin/Pam Corwin Quassapaug Sailing Center 42 41 [59] 42 40 50 16 35 266.00 42
43 22/ 30600 Kevin Hetherington-Young/Audrey x2 Winchester Boat Club 28 47 53 38 42 [61/ZFP] 26 41 275.00 43
44 52/ 29499 Adam Rousmaniere/Jennifer Rousmaniere Winchester Boat Club 26 51 [57] 47 43 41 42 39 289.00 44
45 54/ 31344 Luciano Secchin/Cicero Barcelos Iate Clube do Espirito Santo [53/TLE] 49 48 41 51 16 37 49 291.00 45
46 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 53/TLE [56] 31 53 30 44 40 45 296.00 46
47 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club [53/TLE] 34 29 50 47 48 48 42 298.00 47
48 19/ 29318 Christopher Hains/Barbara Mann Guelph Community BC 45 52 [70/ZFP] 49 39 38 31 47 301.00 48
49 01/ 31157 Martin Bebb/Anne Rusnak no club affiliation 47 60 11 44 48 54 50 [70/DNS] 314.00 49
50 70/ 30301 Chris Ryan/Nicole Ryan SSA 27 36 43 43 33 [70/DNF] 70/DNS 70/DNS 322.00 50
51 41/ 29964 Robert Panza/Charlie Baywood Quassapaug 48 46 46 35 54 [56] 49 50 328.00 51
52 62/ 30236 Kenneth Voss/Kay Voss CRYC/CGSC 53/TLE 54 51 [56] 55 35 44 43 335.00 52
53 37/ 30510 Keisha Meyer/Josh Meyer Bellport Bay Yacht Club 53/TLE 43 49 [59] 50 43 47 51 336.00 53
54 26/ 29987 Jason Hill/Maryl Ludden no club affiliation 53/TLE 39 [64/ZFP] 55 45 49 53 48 342.00 54
55 40/ 29311 Gilmore O’Neill/Connor O’Neill Medford Boat Club 50 [58] 54 57 56 53 46 40 356.00 55
56 11/ 31061 David Eggleton/Tyler Eggleton SSA 32 35 48/ZFP 37 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 362.00 56
57 43/ 26280 Gareth Petko-Bunney/Kimberly Leonard Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 50 [64] 62 57 57 51 52 382.00 57
58 44/ 30819 Francisco Perez/Kerry OBrien OHCC 46 44 55 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 39 70/DNS 70/DNS 394.00 58
59 24/ 28714 Matt Heywood/Chris Bickley North Cape Yacht Club 49 53 [70/ZFP] 51 44 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 407.00 59
60 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 53/TLE 65/TLE 35 60 61 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 414.00 60
61 38/ 30390 Howard Miller/David Miller Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 59 56 58 60 58 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 414.00 61
62 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 53/TLE 61 60 [70/DNF] 52 55 70/DNS 70/DNS 421.00 62
63 15/ 27734 Mark Fuhrmann/Lee Polites SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 52 46 59 59 70/DNS 70/DNS 426.00 63
64 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 53/TLE 55 [70/ZFP] 61 62 60 70/DNS 70/DNS 431.00 64
65 30/ 31322 Todd Johnson/Faye Ferguson SSA 43 57 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 60/ZFP 70/DNS 70/DNS 440.00 65
66 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 53/TLE 63 [70/ZFP] 63 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 459.00 66
67 59/ 31007 Guy Thomas/Will Thomas Lincoln Sailing Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 65/ZFP 52 70/DNS 467.00 67
68T 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T
68T 60/ 29908 John Upton Rush Creek Yacht Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Subdivision: Junior (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 1 1 [5] 1 1 1 1 1 7.00 1
2 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard SSA 2 2 1 [3] 2 2 2 2 13.00 2
3 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA 4/TLE 4 2 2 4 [5] 3 3 22.00 3
4 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club 4/TLE 3 3 4 [5] 4 5 4 27.00 4
5 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 4/TLE [5] 4 5 3 3 4 5 28.00 5


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Subdivision: Silver (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 2/TLE 2 2 [6/DNF] 1 1 6/DNS 6/DNS 20.00 1
2 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 2/TLE 1 4/ZFP 2 3 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 20.00 2
3 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 2/TLE 5/TLE 1 1 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 23.00 3
4 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 2/TLE 3 5/ZFP 3 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 31.00 4
5 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 42.00 5


(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Information is final

Principal Race Officer: Steve Podlich
Jury Chair: Elliott Levy

New Annapolis Library: Is It Good Urbanism?


When The Capital published an article about the new Annapolis library design – you can see the site plan and initial renders here: – my initial reaction and comment on The Capital site was the snarky “Call the architecture police!”. In our  West Annapolis Civic Association neighborhood Facebook group I ditched the snark and made two substantive comments, which I also submitted to the Library association:

  1.  Of course this is subjective, but looks too modern for the surrounding architecture. A variant of colonial revival would be much more in keeping with Annapolis.
  2. The preferred site plan with the parking in back is best and they acknowledge a “strong connection to West Street” but the MAIN entrance needs to be on West Street, not on the parking lot. Front doors facing a parking lot are counter to traditional urban architecture.

What ultimately bothers me about the design and site renderings is that this building is not sensitive to the area. It is a generic modern design that could exist in virtually any suburban location. This section of West Street is the transition from the loved “inner” and the unloved “outer” or “upper” West Street. The comprehensive plan and the Upper West Street Sector Study both spend a lot of time saying essentially, we need to extend the things that make inner West Street work out farther. Look at the renderings in the sector study. Do they look this the picture above? Architectural preferences aside, it is how the building addresses the street that is most important. We want this street to be people oriented and for that to happen we need the building to respect people on the street, making it appealing and inviting for people walking, not favoring auto mobility. This means putting cars in the back, siting the building closer to the street and having the main entrance on West Street, not turning it’s back to the street and facing the parking lot for motorists convenience.

The best way to illustrate this is with an extreme example of the contemporary schlock that passes for “urbanism” in the City of Annapolis (outside the historic district anyway): the new-ish CVS on Bay Ridge Ave (site of the old Mexican Cafe). Before you jump on me and say, yeah, but that’s Forest Drive/Bay Ridge Ave and it’s a car sewer anyway, yeah, I get that but aren’t we trying to change that?



Facing north.

The CVS is chock full of check the box city planning. A little something for every interest group, trees, a wide sidewalk, gobs of parking, brick facades, stormwater management; but it all combines for a horrendous end result and this is what I want to avoid happening at the new West Street Library.

Let’s start to pick this apart: The wide sidewalk with a grass buffer from the street is great, although it needs street trees in the median between the sidewalk and roadway, but the “right in, right out” slip lanes to facilitate quick car turns off the 35-45 mph traffic are horrible for anyone walking as cars don’t naturally pause and if someone gets hit, it will not be pretty. This design telegraphs to motorists that throughput and speed are the most important things, not stopping and looking for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This is the same idea that wide lanes, straight runs and no street trees promotes. But the biggest issue is the front door is located in the far back corner of the building which you can not even see from the road.


The view from the street.

This is the view from the road which highlights how “disrespectful” the building is to the public realm. Note the service equipment on the left. This type of stuff is usually relegated to the back of the building where people won’t see it. The faux divided light windows and faux second floor (I guarantee there is no actual second floor) are meant to be vaguely reminiscent of Annapolis’ colonial architecture (except for the CVS trademark awnings) for anyone whizzing by at 40 mph and remind people of real colonial architecture like that of the state office buildings on Bladen Street:

state office buildings

Real colonial architecture, although actually built in the 60s.

Now back to the CVS and the coup d’ etat, a drive thru pharmacy.


Facing south. It almost looks like a prison with superficial accouterments.


The coup d’ etat: the drive thru.

This is the ultimate in autocentric design. Yeah, yeah, I know people don’t want to get the kids out of the car to pick up a simple prescription, but jeeze couldn’t you put that in the back along with the service equipment and not have it be the predominant feature on the street? This says “don’t bother coming here unless you are in a car”. Furthermore anyone walking to the front (actually, back) door has to walk across the parking lot (there is no pedestrian path from the sidewalk to the door) and perhaps worse, the drive thru lane that is so common on fast food restaurants like my favorite new Taco Bell on West Street.


The new Taco Bell farther out West Street. Note to walk into the restaurant, you have to cross the drive thru lane. How inviting for a pedestrian. But then again no one walks here.

Now with the sensitivities of extreme examples, go back and look at the preferred site plan along with the image at the top of this piece:

preferred library site plan

The design doesn’t completely turn its back on street but gives it the cold shoulder and is sited like any other typical suburban office park-like building. While not nearly as bad as the CVS or Taco Bell, a suburban office park-like building is not appropriate for the traditional environment of this part of West Street which at least initially celebrated the street’s public realm. Since the lifespan of this building is planned to be more than 50 years, we should make sure that it will integrate with the long term plans for the area so that as West Street is once again celebrated as a wonderful public realm, this building won’t turn into an eyesore.