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Board of Education Gives Brickyard Road Property to County for Potential Soccer Fields

The Board of Education voted on Tuesday to give the 20-acre lot on Brickyard Road to the county to possibly develop soccer fields.

The Board of Education voted 6-2 on Tuesday to allow Montgomery County to lease the 20-acre property on Brickyard Road in Potomac to potentially build soccer fields; however the board also passed an amendment extending the current tenant’s stay.

Nick Maravell, who has done behind his house on Brickyard Road for 31 years, will now be able to farm on the property until Jan. 1, 2012 — an amendment added to the original proposal where Maravell would have had to stop farming when the lease ended on March 22.

Patricia O’Neill (Dist. 3) proposed the amendments so that Maravell, who was notified on March 3 that he could not renew his lease on the organic farmland, would be able to plant and harvest this season given the short notice he had from the county.

“I want to offer a resolution because I am sympathetic to Nick’s situation and we want Nick’s organic farm to be able to harvest through 2012 via a sublease with the County Executive,” O’Neill said.

The school board voted after several citizens earlier in the day during its public comment period.

The county will now put out requests for public-private partnerships, which would allow private athletic organizations or community groups to help design, construct and maintain the fields. Maravell’s use of the property will not intervene with the county’s process of seeking private partners, O’Neill said.

In the coming weeks, the county will set up community forums, which will allow citizens to comment on their thoughts for the fields, said David E. Dise, the Director of the Montgomery County Office of Procurement

Dise said the county is already planning to provide natural fields instead of artificial turf and have limitations for noise and lights. 

Several members of the Board of Education said they hoped that these new fields could alleviate the overuse of many surrounding school fields.

“There is such a need for recreation and travel teams to find quality fields for practice or games and having a new set of quality fields will relieve the requests for our schools’ to be utilized,” said President of the Board of Education Christopher Barclay (Dist. 4).

Laura Berthiaume (Dist. 2) and Philip Kauffman (At-Large) did not vote in favor of the measure.

Maravell said he was pleased he will have more time to on the property and does not yet know what the future holds for his farming endeavors.

"I was disappointed that the Board of Education had not listened to the community involvement at an earlier stage," Maravell said. “I haven’t had time to figure out how I might be able to continue my growing operation in the future.”

 

Editor's note: A previous version of the story did not accurately quote Nick Maravell. We regret the error.

Janis March 09, 2011 at 05:40 AM
No. They never learn. They do this over and over and over and over to communities all over the county. And the voters put them back in office again and again.
Concerned March 09, 2011 at 06:07 AM
Total sell out. SHAME ON YOU the so called BOE. See you in the court.
Arthur Keys March 09, 2011 at 08:25 AM
They should extend Nick's lease to preserve sustainable commercially viable organic agriculture in Potomac, MD. We have plenty of other options for soccer fields.
Maria Fusco March 09, 2011 at 02:22 PM
For addt'l comments (one offers a website). Please don't forget to tap the "Public Comments on Future of Brickyard Road Property" (Above).
organic friend March 09, 2011 at 04:02 PM
while it is clear that the School Board is the wrong place to debate a land use issue, the Boards' disrespect of Nick and the Brickyard community was stunning. In what was now clearly a sham, the Board offered a short comment period which was overwhelmingly in favor of continuing Nicks lease, offering many thoughtfull, considered and forceful comments showing understanding of this specific site and its needs. The soccer fields speaker made the generic argument that soccer fields are needed, which nobody diputes, ignoring the fact that the brickyard site would be a terrible place for such fields, and would displace a unique and vital use which is particular to this site. The lack of real process or understanding of the community, as Nick said, shows that something is broken, and, for me, represents an abuse of power. It is clearly time for us to pay attention to who we elect to the school board. Note the reaction of members and encourage your friends to understand the kind of people we are voting for.

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