The Key School is one step closer to its plan to renovate the Annapolis Golf Club thanks to a Anne Arundel County Circut Court ruling Friday.
Judge Paul Goetzke found in favor of The Key School, Ribera Development, and golf course owners George and Linda Graefe on all three counts.
"We note that Plaintiffs’ request that we determine, by way of a declaratory judgment, whether Key School’s proposed use of the property violates the declaration, allows them to avoid the obligation of proving that they have been irreparably harmed by Key School’s actions," Goetzke wrote in his decision. "As a result, Defendants might be exposed to unreimbursed financial loss for no
Goetzke wrote that he believed the defendants have a right to make a case as to why they should be allowed to proceed with their renovation plans.
Key School spokeswoman Irfan Latimer said the school and its board of trustees are pleased with the decision to dismiss.
"We feel confident that the proposed uses for the property fall squarely within the community covenants and the zoning requirements," Latimer said.
In November 2011, the school finalized a deal to purchase the 70-plus acre public golf course.
Marcella Yedid, Key’s head of school, wrote in a letter to parents back in November that the property along Carrollton Road in the Annapolis Roads area of the city would be used to enhance the school’s athletic, outdoor and environmental programs.
“Additionally, by relieving some of the existing campus pressure as related to athletics facilities, the new property will facilitate desirable Hillsmere campus improvements,” Yedid said in the letter.
But shortly after the announcement, area residents Pam and Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III and Trish and Greg Strott filed a lawsuit in Anne Arundel County Circut Court on behalf of the Preserve Annapolis Roads group seeking a “declaratory judgment” and “injunctive relief.”
Development of the golf course property is bound by a legal document, signed by the previous owners and members of the surrounding community, that restricts what kinds of uses are permitted on the 70-plus acres. The covenant was signed in 1987 after 14 years of litigation over potential development.
The residents wanted the court to say exactly what uses would be allowed on the golf course property, and then prohibit any uses it said were not allowed.
Goetzke decided against them, but Annapolis Roads residents have not completely lost yet. Goetzke dismissed the third count without prejudice, and he has given the plaintiffs a 90-day window in which to refile a petition for an injunction.
"Plaintiffs will be given an opportunity to pursue discovery in order to determine whether Defendants’ efforts to develop the Property have violated the terms of the Declaration," Goetzke wrote.
Latimer said the school plans to now move forward with its purchase plans.
"The school really does intend to continue to work constructively with the residents its development," Latimer said.
Annapolis Golf Club and the plantiffs were not immediately available for comment Friday evening.
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