Story Category: Environment »
County Pursues Legal Information on Cross County Connector
La Plata, MD - 3/20/2012
By Andy Marquis
While the Cross County Connector appears to be dead, the Charles County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1, over the opposition of Commissioner Ken Robinson (D: 1st) to pursue legal information on the Cross County Connector permit denials in the event that it is a viable option in the future.
The cost for the legal opinion and analysis, which will include written analysis, an attorney review and a briefing from Lawrence R. Liebesman of the private Holland & Knight law firm in Washington, D.C., will cost $8,500.
“How frequent are denials from ACOE,” Robinson asked County Attorney Barbara Holtz. “How often do they come up and how often are they overturned?”
“Denials are infrequent,” Holtz replied.
Robinson then turned to Groth and asked him, “In your professional opinion, what should Charles County do in regards to the Cross County Connector?”
“My opinion is that we shelve the project until we know more about Billingsley options and the Comprehensive Plan process,” Groth said.
“The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has been pretty adamant the preferred method is widening 228,” Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) said.
“We cannot appeal the ACOE,” Robinson said. “We have to take the federal government to court.”
“I think this is one of those deals where you pay me now or pay me later,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot of work and money that’s been put in to this project. Mr. Groth, you said we need to put it on the shelf. It might be a viable option in the future.”
“We should have an attorney review, and a written analysis, and a briefing because it might help with future dealings with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE),” Commissioner Debra Davis (D: 2nd) said.
The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers permit denials were met with celebration by environmentalists as they essentially killed the Cross County Connector project, something that environmentalists feel is environmentally damaging to the Mattawoman Creek. The road would connect Waldorf to Bryans Road by extending Billingsley Road out to Indian Head Highway (MD-210).
Supporters of the Cross County Connector say development is already being done around the proposed road, and say Billingsley needs safety improvements. The county is now looking in to making safety improvements to Billingsley Road.
Be The First To Comment On This Story!
Send This Story to a Friend!