The battle over a 20-acre plot on Brickyard Road in Potomac took another turn Dec. 7 after a Maryland court stymied Montgomery County’s effort to overturn a stay that had been put on the land and any development that might take place on it.
The Court of Special Appeals, the state’s second highest court, made the ruling to deny the appeal to overturn the stay of development.
The land, which is owned by the Montgomery County Board of Education, was the site of Nick Maravell’s “Nick’s Organic Farm” for more than three decades.
The school board leased the land to Montgomery County, which had intended, in turn, to lease the land to Montgomery Soccer Inc., a Montgomery County-based nonprofit youth soccer organization.
The property is now at the center of two ongoing lawsuits: one to determine if the school board’s decision to lease the site to the county was legal, and a second lawsuit by community groups opposed to development of soccer fields on the land.
Opponents to the development say that the process behind the school board’s decision to lease the land to the county was not transparent and violates the Potomac Master Plan, and would furthermore destroy a local organic farm, which now also has an educational program.
Montgomery County and school board officials contend the decisions are legal and well within the purview of the area’s master plan.
“We’re thrilled the Court of Appeals has allowed the stay to continue so we can have our day in court,” said Keith Williams, president of the Civic Association of River Falls.
“Our position remains the same, that public land should be used for public purposes. We will continue our appeal of erroneous decision of the previous judge,” county spokesman Patrick Lacefield said.
The next hearing will be held Feb. 8, 2013, at 9 a.m. in the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, with Judge Robert Greenberg.