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.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(11) comments

OFMV

Changing the county sign to read "Open for Law Suits." Thanks to the unlawful bumblings of our current BoCC and Sheriff.

darththevader

Really??? You must live in Denial Land. The prior board was being sued by everybody all the time including every municipality in the county

MCEDDE21

Which one of Blaine's high-priced Baltimore lawyers recommended that the County sue the City in Circuit Court BEFORE exhausting the administrative remedies? How many billable hours did they rack up on this one--at taxpayer expense?

The County hired three attorneys from the Baltimore/nationwide firm of Venable, LLP, but has denied all our PIA requests for their names and the billings. So far, we've seen lawyers Kurt Fisher and Marta Harting in court. The limited records we've seen, show that Venable collected some $790,000 from the County between April, 2011 and November, 2013.

We estimate that around half of that amount was paid to Venable in connection with the proposed sale of Citizens and Montevue. We have no figures for amounts paid out in 2014 and can only guess the amount for this recent adventure.

kjswartz

We don't know how these lawyers are being compensated. If they are paid AFTER successful completion of the sale, that could easily be 10% of the sale price and could go as high as 20%.

We can Blaime Young for not being forthright with their payment information.

kjswartz

"'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."'

Let me repeat: Justice Adams concluded our state's laws says the planning commission has the superior judgement.

County Attorney John Mathias practices law, right?

Surely he had to know that.

Law isn't a child's game of Ring-around-the-Rosie!

darththevader

It didn't say they had the superior judgement. It said they followed procedure.

crikeyalmighty

This should be a no brainer - can this be any clearer?

"for the Benefit of the Poor of said County, and to and for no other use, intent or purpose whatsoever."

jill king

It has been a long time since the homes there have benefitted Frederick County residents. How much will need to be provided to determine if it is even currently used for the "poor?"

Regulations and insurances (the way we provide care) has changed drastically. Whether public or private, neither can turn down patients if there is a bed, unlike rehabilitation services for the needy.

kjswartz

I was wondering how you can sleep nights after writing such fairy tales.
It just occurred to me: you've earned frequent-flyer miles to Neverland!

SaveFrederick

Jill just does whatever Blaine tells her. The truth doesn't seem to matter!

chesapeakecountry

Here is the truth. This facility costs county taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars while only benefiting a couple of hundred elderly; the majority of which aren't even from Frederick County. This is money that could be more wisely spent to benefit ALL the poor and elderly in this county through more funding for meals on wheels, senior citizen centers, head start programs, etc. To those who can see clearly this decision is a no brainer. We just need to make sure the funds saved are properly directed to those groups.

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