The application to extend a license for Nick's Organic Farm to continue farming along Brickyard Road for another year has been recused by the Office of the County Attorney of Montgomery County, according to a statement released by farm owner Nick Maravell.
"The County is saying it can’t extend my farming activity,” Maravell said in the release. “In my view, it’s because the County is not confident it has legal control over the property.”
In a Sept. 2 letter to Maravell's attorney, James L. Parsons, Jr., the County responded to a lawsuit filed on July 22 by Maravell against the Montgomery County Board of Education. According to the release, the letter states that the County's authority to grant an extended license is dependent on the legality of the County's lease with the Board of Education.
“Mr. Maravell’s lawsuit challenges that lease. The issues that [Parsons and Maravell] have raised in the lawsuit need to be resolved before further action can be taken,” the letter said, according to the release.
Patrick Lacefield, director of public information for Montgomery County reaffirmed the County’s position as stated in the letter. “We can’t decide to extend someone’s license at a time that someone is suing us in court,” Lacefield said. “He is questioning the validity of the very thing he is seeking an extension on.”
The lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education challenges the legality of the lease from the BOE to the County for the land along Brickyard Road and alleges that the BOE violated the Open Meetings Act.
The tract of land at Brickyard Road in question is owned by the Montgomery County Board of Education and had been leased to Nick Maravell and Nick’s Organic Farm since 1980. In March of this year, the Board of Education decided not to renew the lease with Nick’s Organic Farm, and in April signed a lease with the County to develop soccer fields on the site.
The school board maintains the right to terminate the lease if the land is needed for school purposes. Currently, Maravell's farming license for the Brickyard site is set to expire at the end of this year.
This post was updated at 5:30 p.m.