Just in a new fact check not related to Today’s Whig
As the Commissioners argued about selling part of the Elk Landing Tract a few meetings ago, Commissioner Jablonski noted that it could be done since Port Deposit had sold some of its Program Open Space resources. This is such a tangled and confused web, we’ve learned to fact check everything. Thus we contacted a number of stakeholders associated with Port’s Open Space and have verified through multiple sources that the town did not sell its property. It was discussed, but that town board after carefully examining the obstacles and opportunities associated with a conversion decided not to advance beyond the evaluation stage.
Here is part of an email from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in references to our fact-finding request.
“Please know that the Mayor and Town Administrator at Port Deposit declared that no such property transaction has occurred. Port Deposit is very much aware that the Hopkins property was acquired with POS funding and cannot be used for anything other than open space and/or recreation. In fact, a master plan for park development has recently been completed. I hope this information reassures you that once a property is acquired with POS funding that it is in perpetuity and would constitute a land conversion if the property was used for anything other than recreational development or open space.” — Maryland DNR.
It is good to know that there are advocates protecting Maryland’s Open Space Resources within local government and that there is careful, logical oversight at the state level. There may be times when a property needs to be converted, but my belief is that the Department of Natural Resources will most carefully evaluate proposals from local jurisdictions to make sure they are thoroughly justified, within the scope and guidelines of the POS Manual.
We’ve carefully examined that manual and do not believe the Elkton proposal meets that standard.