dr marten work boots Four Seasons ruling disappoints two parties

CHESTER A recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals sending the Four Seasons wetlands license issue back to the State Board of Public Works remains under review by several parties in the case, two of whom they say they’re disappointed with it.

On May 23, 2007, the board voted 2 1 to reject an application from developer K. Hovnanian for a wetlands license for the proposed development in Chester. The high court’s April 23 ruling was in response to an appeal of a decision by the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court reversing the board’s decision and ordering the case back to the board.

The office of John Zink, the attorney representing Hovnanian, said Monday that he was still reviewing the court’s decision with his client and could not comment.

“We don’t have anything to add,” said David Paulson, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office on behalf of the Board of Public Works. “I think our only comment has been that it remains under review.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley and Comptroller Peter Franchot voted in 2007 to deny the permit, citing environmental concerns. Treasurer Nancy Kopp favored issuing it because the project had met several criteria.

In a statement issued by his office, O’Malley said, “The court’s decision is disappointing,
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and it would appear to be contrary to the plain language of the statute. This is a setback for the protection of our remaining wetlands, the health of the Bay, and public safety in flood zones.”

Jay Falstad, executive director of Queen Anne’s Conservation Association, which opposes Four Seasons, said he also was disappointed with the ruling. “There are some things they didn’t adequately address.”

Falstad said that while his organization is disappointed, it’s “not a bad thing” that the case is being returned to the board. “It’s just a bump in the road,” he said.

Earlier, Daniel Saunders, the attorney for several Four Seasons opponents, said he was surprised the Court of Appeals failed to rule on whether the Board of Public Works was acting in a quasi judicial or quasi legislative capacity when it made its decision. He said that is an important factor.

“How they (the board) revisit the decision depends on how they interpret the issue” of quasi judicial versus quasi legislative,
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Saunders said.

The Court of Appeals indicated the question of quasi legislative versus quasi judicial has been a gray area for some time and “it does not appear that we are any closer to such a precise line of demarcation now.”