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July 20, 2006 – For Immediate Release 
Sentinel Whispers

 Following is article from The Capital regarding The Cloisters lawsuit against the QAC Commissioners decision to deny them sewer allocation.  The Cloisters would be located off Route 8, behind the Kmart, between Ellendale and the Kent Manor Inn.  Please note that the article refers to Ellendale as “a neighboring 285 unit senior complex” – but this is incorrect, Ellendale has not been planned as a senior subdivision. KIDL

Judge to rule on Kent Island growth fight 
By ERIC HARTLEY, Staff Writer   

A year after they were elected on a slow-growth platform, Queen Anne's County
commissioners illegally blocked nearly 300 homes for seniors on Kent Island, 
a lawyer for a developer told a judge yesterday. 

John Lynch, the Pennsylvania developer who wants to build the 289-unit 
Cloisters project, sued the county in Circuit Court last year. His attorney, 
Warren K. Rich, said commissioners can't choose to block one development 
just because they don't like it. 

"We're a government of laws, not man," Mr. Rich said yesterday in an 
Annapolis courtroom as the lawyers presented their closing arguments in the 
trial. "As much as these five commissioners wanted to change the laws or 
limit growth, there's a process you go through to do that. They didn't do 
that - they tried to shortcut the process." 

Patrick Thompson, an attorney representing the Board of Commissioners, told 
the judge elected lawmakers have the right to guide growth and development. 

"It's a legislative act," Mr. Thompson said of the November 2003 vote to 
deny Cloisters the requested sewer-service designation. He added later, 
"Unless this court is willing to become the super-legislator for Queen 
Anne's County, it should leave that decision alone." 

Anne Arundel County Judge William C. Mulford II, who heard testimony several 
weeks ago and closing arguments yesterday, said he didn't know when he'll 
issue his written ruling. 

He said the principal issue is whether the commissioners' vote was 
"arbitrary and capricious" or was within their rights. The plaintiffs filed 
the case in Anne Arundel County, arguing that it involved a statewide 
issues, and another judge rejected a defense request to move it to Queen 

The case could have a major effect on growth on booming Kent Island, where 
the future of a number of developments is still up in the air. Cloisters is 
one of several subdivisions in the works, the largest plan being the Four 
Seasons retirement community, with 1,350 homes. 

Mr. Rich, who's asking Judge Mulford to order the county to give the highest 
sewer designation to Cloisters, argued that the commissioners' denial was 
unfair because they approved Ellendale, a neighboring 285-unit senior 
complex, in 2003. 

Both are in Stevensville, which had been slated as a growth area for 
decades, Mr. Rich said. Kent Island is the most densely populated part of 
Queen Anne's County, with the rest being more rural. 

Mr. Rich called the commissioners' vote against Cloisters "arrogant," saying 
Mr. Lynch spent several million dollars to buy about 75 acres with the 
expectation of building hundreds of homes. 

"It's buyer beware," Judge Mulford interrupted. "We are a capitalist 

Mr. Thompson agreed, saying it's not the county's fault if Mr. Lynch bought 
a property not designated for planned sewer service on the assumption that 
the county would grant service because it's near other developments. 

He said lawmakers have to consider not just existing growth plans and rules 
about water and sewer allocation, but quality-of-life issues like traffic, 
school capacity and law enforcement. 

Before the attorneys made their closing arguments, Judge Mulford said he was 
troubled by the idea of a judge in Annapolis deciding such an important case 
affecting Queen Anne's County. 

"I am truly puzzled why in the interest of justice this case was not sent to 
Queen Anne's County," he said. 

In addition to arguing that the case raises statewide issues, the developer 
filed the case in the state capital because the Maryland Department of the 
Environment, which guides local development plans around the state, was 
initially a defendant. 

But even after the MDE was dismissed from the case, Anne Arundel Circuit 
Court Judge Paul G. Goetzke rejected the defendants' request to move the 
case to Queen Anne's. 


JUDGE SAUSE ISSUES INJUNCTION AGAINST FOUR SEASONS  (mail to this address goes to all 5 Commissioners)

KIDL Web Guy Says:  Write to our Commissioners!  QAC Voter's Guide Lists Campaign Promises  |  |

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