A challenge to the subdivision of county land home to Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living will continue through city government after an opinion in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Subdividing the land would allow the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners to sell the centers and a portion of the land.
The case before Judge Theresa M. Adams earlier this month was in an unusual posture when she heard arguments from the city, county and concerned citizens; the decision on appeal in the court system had already been undone by the city's planning commission.
On Jan. 28, 2013, the county submitted a plan to subdivide the property to the city's planning department.
On April 8, 2013, the city's planning commission gave conditional approval to the subdivision of the land, near Rosemont Avenue and Rocky Springs Road.
On Nov. 26, 2013, the city's Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-0 to send the case back to the planning commission. That's when the county appealed the zoning board's decision in Frederick County Circuit Court.
In the time since, the planning commission once again approved the subdivision application. A new hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals is being scheduled.
"It is clear to this court that the administrative process underlying this petition is not complete," Adams wrote in an opinion filed this week.
During the July 10 hearing, County Attorney John Mathias argued that allowing the city appeals board to remand the case to the planning commission could conceivably create a never-ending cycle if the two boards disagreed on an issue.
Adams disagreed and concluded that state laws support the appeals board's authority to remand decisions back to the planning commission.
A judicial review can be applied for once a final administrative decision has been made within the city government, Adams wrote.
In a separate case, Adams ruled in March that an 1828 deed for the land, crafted when Elias Brunner sold 88 acres to Frederick County, created a restrictive covenant by including language that the land be used "for the Benefit of the Poor of said County, and to and for no other use, intent or purpose whatsoever."
That case is expected to go to trial in January, with a jury to decide whether a sale to a for-profit owner would violate the restrictive covenant included in the deed.
Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.