A Victory for Deep Cove Creek at the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals!
In a victory for Deep Cove Creek, and after 25 hearings over the course of 2 years, the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals dismissed the pending appeal regarding Snyder Development’s efforts to build its disputed housing development within the Resource Conservation Area (RCA) of the Critical Area in Churchton, Maryland, effectively ending Snyder’s attempts to skirt Maryland Critical Area law. The dismissal ends a TWELVE year battle against the developer by South County Citizens for Responsible Development (SACReD), the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and local citizens.
On February 7, 2018, the Critical Area Commission (CAC) found that the County’s Critical Area Program, specifically its use of the definition of “site” found under Maryland Department of the Environment’s stormwater regulations, did not meet state Critical Area law requirements. The definition was the lynch pin for approval of the Snyder Turtle Run development plan, being relied upon by both Snyder and the County Office of Planning and Zoning. The CAC gave the County 90 days to amend its Critical Area Program to address its deficiencies, and determined any local project approval based on that definition was null and void. In last night’s dismissal, the Board determined that the County’s Office of Planning and Zoning’s 2016 approval of Snyder’s proposed site plan fell under that umbrella, leaving nothing before the Board to decide.
The Board came to its conclusion based largely on motions written, submitted, and argued by CLA volunteer attorney Jonathan Guy of Orrick (Washington, D.C.), with tremendous support of CLA volunteer Attorney John Wyss of Wiley Rein (Washington, D.C.) who has contributed his time pro bono to this case since 2009. These two attorneys have spent an incredible amount of time and energy on this case, all to help prevent the establishment of terrible development precedent in Anne Arundel County, maintaining the integrity of our environmental laws and regulations, and protecting the health and future of Deep Cove Creek and the Chesapeake Bay. We are so thankful for their efforts.
We also want to congratulate SACReD, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and other local Churchton residents for their unflagging willingness to stay in the fight for this pristine, waterfront forest.