Tomorrow, the Montgomery County Planning Board will determine the future of a 3+ mile equestrian (and bicycle) trail in Boyds, MD.
In 2010, when the Barnesville Oaks development was being proposed in Boyds, MD on what was the Ag Reserve’s largest farm, the development, now called Greentree Farm, was conditionally approved by the Planning Board. One condition allowed for a 3-mile trail along the property to be put into easement and maintained for the public (bikers, birders, riders, hikers, etc) by the nonprofit Equestrian Partners in Conservation (EPIC), as they have done successfully (and at no cost to taxpayers) for two other local trails.
Fast forward to July 2015- in Greentree Farm’s record plat submission to the county this “easement” is now a “covenant”. What’s the big deal?
There are two main concerns:
1. Covenants can be changed and do not provide for the stewardship needed for either the ease of public use and the trail maintenance required for safety. EPIC would be putting in sign posts to keep users from getting lost, keeping the trail clear of debris and promoting the trail, among other services to make this public trail actually usable by the public.
2. When a new project is approved with conditions attached, allowing those conditions to be changed sets a disastrous precedent.
In other words- if this change is allowed, a public trail remains on the books instead of under boots and developers have a green light to go back on their commitments once projects are approved.
Please write to the Planning Board by COB on Sept. 2 (email@example.com and bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org) and share your concerns, talking points below:
- The Easement on the Greentree Farm property must remain granted to EPIC so that the trail can be maintained sufficiently for public use.
- As a 34-year County commitment, the Ag Reserve belongs to all residents and opportunities for the public to experience the Reserve must be promoted.
- Allowing a development interest to make changes in their record plat- particularly one that would result in less public access- sets a dangerous precedent for future development.
If you are able, please attend the hearing -
10am September 3
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD