The Brickyard Road property in Potomac—owned by Montgomery County Public Schools and leased for use as an organic farm for the past three decades—is no longer being considered for lease to the county, which intended to turn it into soccer fields, MCPS announced Tuesday night.
In a letter to the county school board on Tuesday, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) wrote that the county was relinquishing the county's lease on the site, and that the county no longer intends to develop the property for recreational purposes.
The site—once slated for a middle school—has been the focus of months of controvery and legal wrangling. A group of Potomac activists, residents and farm supporters want the site to be maintained as an organic farm and educational site. They say the lease agreement with the county was executed without full public transparency, Patch reported.
On Tuesday evening, at a special school board session, the school board voted to cancel its lease of the land to the county. "The property is now in the possession of the Montgomery County Board of Education and remains a future school site," the statement said.
Nick's Organic Farm leased the property for the past 32 years, and for the past few years, the Brickyard Educational Farm on the property helped local kids learn about where their food comes from.
But when the lease was up, the land was to be leased to the county and turned into soccer fields.
Earlier Tuesday, school security personnel began securing the property, cutting through fencing around the site and preparing to lock the property up, according to a statement from Save This Soil.
Sophia Maravell, founder of the Brickyard Educational Farm, said on Tuesday afternoon that "maybe the locks aren’t to keep us out, but to keep out the county, otherwise they would have locked Brickyard Educational Farm’s entrance."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that the school board vote was conducted in an open session, according to Montgomery County School Board President Christopher S. Barclay.