Wheat­lands pub­lic hear­ing set Dec. 14

Record Observer - - News -

QUEEN­STOWN — Town Com­mis­sion­ers have sched­uled a pub­lic hear­ing for 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Dec. 14, re­gard­ing the growth al­lo­ca­tion for the Wheat­lands prop­erty where com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment is pro­posed.

The pub­lic hear­ing is at the town of­fices, 7013 Main St. in Queen­stown.

Wheat­lands is a 148-acre track of land on U.S. Route 301 across from the out­lets and near the Route 301 and U.S. Route 50 split. The prop­erty also is re­ferred to as the Water­man prop­erty since it is owned by the Water­man Fam­ily Lim­ited Part­ner­ship.

At their meet­ing on Oct. 26, the town com­mis­sion­ers in­tro­duced an or­di­nance that ap­plies the growth al­lo­ca­tion float­ing zone dis­trict to re­clas­sify 59.7 acres of the crit­i­cal area lands within the prop­erty from re­source con­ser­va­tion area to in­tensely de­vel­oped area. At that point, the com­mis­sion­ers set the pub­lic hear­ing on the or­di­nance.

The Water­man fam­ily hopes to build a com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment on the prop­erty. The de­vel­op­ment could in­clude re­tail space, com­mer­cial space, of­fices, and an as­sis­tant liv­ing facility. At max­i­mum, 500,000 square feet of space can be de­vel­oped.

Wheat­lands has been the sub­ject of a court bat­tle be­tween the town, the prop­erty owner, and the Queen Anne’s Conser va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

The Mary­land Court of Special Ap­peals heard oral ar­gu­ments Nov. 3 on whether the Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers had the le­gal right to re­verse their de­ci­sion on a five-year wait­ing pe­riod for re­zon­ing the prop­erty.

The is­sue be­fore the court goes back sev­eral years. Queen­stown an­nexed the prop­erty in 2014 and re­ceived a waiver from the sit­ting county com­mis­sion­ers on hav­ing to wait five years to change the land use and zon­ing. But the new county com­mis­sion­ers, who were elected that year, re­scinded the waiver.

The Water­man part­ner­ship took the mat­ter to the Cir­cuit Court of Queen Anne’s County, which de­clared the de­ci­sion by the new com­mis­sion­ers to be void, thereby up­hold­ing the waiver.

Sev­eral cit­i­zens and the Queen Anne’s Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion ap­pealed the Cir­cuit Court’s de­ci­sion to the Court of Special Ap­peals. Their lawyer asked the ap­peals court to re­verse the Cir­cuit Court’s de­ci­sion, which would mean the waiver is void.

The Court of Special Ap­peals hasn’t re­leased a de­ci­sion yet.

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