Appeal Likely In Maryland State Board of Education Decision on Brickyard Site
Preserving our Neighborhood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Keith Williams at 301-983-5334
POTOMAC, MD – July 25, 2012 – The Md. State Board of Education’s (SBOE) decision today to affirm the local school board’s decision to lease public land on Brickyard Road to a private, commercial enterprise is not surprising and was expected. It is highly likely the Appellants will appeal the SBOE decision to the Circuit Court.
The community coalition opposing the lease of the Brickyard property knew it was unlikely a political entity like the SBOE would render a fair hearing in reviewing the actions of a similar local board. "We didn't expect a fair hearing from a SBOE that based its decision on an incomplete record and ignored key facts regarding the local school board’s misconduct" said Ginny Barnes of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association, one of the members of the Brickyard Coalition.
The SBOE ruled on an administrative appeal of the decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education to lease an area of land known as the Brickyard Road Site to Montgomery County to be developed as a soccer complex by a private, commercial organization. The local board filed a Motion for Summary Affirmance. Appellants filed oppositions to the Motion and the local board responded. In addition, Montgomery County filed a Motion to Intervene, which the State Board denied. Appellants have waited 16 months for the SBOE to take up their appeal and last month sought assistance from State legislators. Subsequently, District 15 and 16 sent letters to the SBOE asking that the case be timely heard.
The Brickyard appeal arose because the local school board acted in secret with the Montgomery County Executive and MSI, a private, commercial organization, for more than two years to deliver highly valuable public school property to a private organization to build a members‐only pay‐to‐play commercial soccerplex in an entirely residential neighborhood unequipped to handle the traffic, destruction and total incompatibility inherent in such a large scale commercial complex. Allowing a private commercial development to endanger and dramatically transform several Montgomery County neighborhoods and communities would be unprecedented. The Potomac community has no choice but to fight it.
Neighborhoods impacted by the BOE and County government decisions look forward to an objective court considering the facts and applying the law in the light of day pursuant to a process that is fair, complete and open. Curt Uhre, an appellant in the case and a Coalition leader said: "I find the opinion lacking in any reasoned legal analysis. It smacks of a political decision and begs to be appealed"
The Brickyard Coalition is an umbrella organization of civic groups and private citizens joined in opposition to the proposed soccer complex in our peaceful, residential neighborhood. Participating organizations include the West Montgomery County Citizens Association (WMCCA); the Civic Association of River Falls (CARF); and the Brickyard Road Citizens’ Association.