Deep Creek Lake businesses file appeal
Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News
OAKLAND — The mini-marinas case will go back to Garrett County Circuit Court with a hearing scheduled for March 29. Two cases, a declaratory judgment and an administrative agency appeal were consolidated during a hearing Dec. 10.
Also during the recent hearing, a judicial review of the Garrett County Board of Commissioners decision to amend text in the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance was dismissed.
St. Moritz Properties LLC, Bill’s Marine Service Inc. and Silver Tree Marine LLC are suing the defendants of the Garrett County Board of Zoning Appeals, the commissioners, Lakeside Commercial Properties LLC and William Meagher, owner of the Lakeside Creamery. The declaratory judgment will terminate the controversy between the businesses, according to the complaint document for declaratory judgment.
Each of the businesses owns and operates a marina in accordance with the ordinance, which requires a minimum lot of two acres for both a marina and a boat launch, according to the document. The minimum land area requirements in the ordinance are 10,000 square feet, but Meagher’s property is only 9,204 square feet, according to the document.
St. Moritz Properties LLC, Bill’s Marine Service Inc. and Silver Tree Marine LLC have also filed an interpretive appeal in opposition of the Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision in June to grant Meagher’s request for a boat rental permit.
The appeal states that, “the granting of the permit affects spot zoning and thereby denies equal protection and due process to other owners of property in the neighborhood.” The appeal also states that “granting of the permit will result in damage to the fair-market value of the other properties in the neighborhood.”
During the December hearing, the motion to dismiss the judicial review was based on the fact that the text amendment was not considered spot zoning, applying to just one small area of land. It was instead determined to be comprehensive zoning, applying to all land.
“The change in the text ordinance applies to every parcel at the lake, not just one parcel,” County Attorney Gorman Getty III said during the December hearing. “This is not spot zoning.”
Meagher planned to offer 12 personal water crafts and four pontoon boats as rentals as well as offer guided tours. He would use local marinas for services.
“We didn’t want to do sales. We didn’t want to do repairs. We didn’t want to do a lot of the things that the marina does,” said Mea-gher during the public hearing. “The only thing we wanted to do was a boat rental business.”
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.