No address, no options

No address, no options

There are 24 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Jan 8, 2008, titled No address, no options. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

For decades, the road was a lifeline for an African-American enclave in Sandy Spring.

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Clarksville, MD

#1 Jan 8, 2008
Ha - they don't own the road, they can't build on it, they can't get addresses, but they can STILL pay property taxes. Only in Maryland.

Hagerstown, MD

#2 Jan 8, 2008
Montgomery County, eh? Watch this one closely... the county will try to get this land out of Mr. Rounds's hands and into the hands of a well-connected developer.

Baltimore, MD

#3 Jan 8, 2008
~betcha those with the power have plans for this road and/or the associated property. Sounds like dirty politics to me.
Mike Calo

Pasadena, MD

#4 Jan 8, 2008
Adding to "jjj"'s comment, one way they can get the county to recognize their road: stop paying their property taxes. I GUARANTEE that the county will suddenly know where they live - when the county takes their property for failure to pay back taxes - and, as Ken and "concerned" said, GIVE it to a well-connected developer, along with obscene tax breaks for developing the property along this "non-existent" road.

I will glady assist in the legal bills for the current property owners to defend their land.
Mike Calo

Pasadena, MD

#5 Jan 8, 2008
BTW - if this road doesn't exist, where does the county send the tax bills?

I would like to know:

1. What are their maiing addresses? I don't want their actual addresses - I simply want to know if "Farm Road" is part of them.
2. Does the Fire Department have them on their CAD maps and, if so, what is the road called?
3. Is there a street sign on their corner, and if so what does it say (or if there was one, but - as a result of articles such as this it has mysteriously "disappeared", what DID it say)?

Obviously, certain parts of the Montgomery County government (TAXES) know that Farm Road exists - and if it exists in one part of the county bureaucracy it has to exist in all of them.

Unless, as we've all said before, there is something dirty afoot on the part of the Montgomery County government.

Some reporters need to do a followup story - or a series - on this.
Bureaucracy - no results

Frederick, MD

#6 Jan 8, 2008
If it was to the advantage of the politicians, the Farm Road would become a road. As Mr. Rounds states, "they have the power, I don't". It truly is a shame when hard working people get stepped on. Montgomery County should at the very least recognize the road so these individuals can use their land or sell their land as they see fit.

Towson, MD

#7 Jan 8, 2008
I didn't "Dutch" Ruppersberger was in Mont. Co. This sounds like one of his dirty tricks.

Baltimore, MD

#8 Jan 8, 2008
My question is were the claims of Mr. Kanstoroom verified by the Sun. Has their been any investigation into possible connections between the bureaucrats denying the requests and other interested parties that may benefit from keeping things the way they are? Is there any evidence that well connected developers have any interest in the disputed area? Did the Sun reporter ever leave his desk in researching this story?

Hanover, MD

#9 Jan 8, 2008
I agree with jjj above-the tax man has had no trouble finding them. There's only a problem when the overtaxed citizen wants to use or benefit from his land.If they stop paying their taxes and then want to sell out and can't find a local well-connected developer,check in Harford County we have an abundance of them. And we've been blesssed with BRAC coming, maybe we can help him out.

Norfolk, VA

#10 Jan 8, 2008
Liberal Montgomery County holding the black folks down. Typical hypocrits!

United States

#11 Jan 8, 2008
i believe that Mr. Rounds has a case and that if it dates back that far, and new address parcels in 2002, and back to 1895 than let them sell their land or give them permits to build on the land.

United States

#12 Jan 8, 2008
They need to stop paying their taxes and when the tax man comes around to collect that or the property, sit at the end of the road that doesn't exist, rifles in hand, to hold them off. See how fast the tax man and the National Guard can find the road then!
long time reader

Westminster, MD

#13 Jan 8, 2008
just payoff the right politicans and see how fast the problems disappear.

Newark, DE

#14 Jan 8, 2008
as a planner, i have run across this type of issue before. quite simply, if there is no legally recorded roadway in existence, then the county's actions are correct. however, it would be interesting to see if this is an instance in which a claim similar to adverse possession could be utilized- not being a lawyer i am only passingly familiar with this type of action. but i would think that the similarities would enable an attempt at that argument tho.

for those who are suggesting that the county is somehow screwing over these people intentionally or with the idea to somehow benefit their developer friends- come on, get real. if this had been the opposite, with the county issuing permits without these property owners having legal road access, then each of you would be howling about that as well. there is a reason why government agencies rely on the law for their decisions- if you do not like the law that is one thing, but do not bithc when our government follows the law.

Woodlyn, PA

#15 Jan 9, 2008
It is hard to believe this is still going on in the 21st century. Why hasn't the NAACP jumped on this? This is grossly unfair!!!!
candace P

Glen Burnie, MD

#16 Jan 9, 2008
I cannot believe that these issues are still existing in Sandy Spring. It is a known fact that the original people of Sandy Spring have NEVER been able to do what newcomers have been allowed to do. It seems that if you have the money and know the right people you can do, and build whatever you would like in Sandy Spring. There is a history there, and generations of families, why shouldn't they be allowed to continue to hold and build on their property. I have witnessed it firsthand, years ago my brother-in-law inherited property on brooke road and was told he couldn't build on it, he sold it for little to no money and within one year a building was constructed. Give a helping hand to the families on brooke road so they can create THEIR own Goldmine Road!!!! It is disgusting how these families have sold their land for next to nothing, only to have million dollar properties built in no time.....

Baltimore, MD

#17 Jan 9, 2008
Very interesting, where is the liberal Washington Post. Thank God for the Balimore Sun for looking into this!!! I am a voter in Montgomery County and I voted for Leggett, I thought he was going to change the Corpution in Montgomery Park and PLanning but as we can see things have not changed. This has all the markings of another Clarksburg. It's just a shame that this kind of discrimination still exit in this County. We border on our Nations Capital and we should be the standard for all counties in this country but once again, we have failed to protect our hard working citzens and their propertys. This is very sad, I am curious aren't most of the road in this state, former farm roads! I hope that Leggett reads these comments and is prepared to do battle for his citzens.
David W

Washington, DC

#18 Jan 9, 2008
I agree with "LrM80" where is The Washington Post is on this is story. This issue is outrageous. These people are forced to pay taxes on property they can not even use. How do you pay tax on property that is not even legal to build on? Where are the MD elected officials on this issue? I would really like to see them step up to the plate.
Dan L

Farmingville, NY

#19 Jan 10, 2008
As a well-to-do white real estate investor in the Northern Virginia area I find this story to be pretty disturbing. I never cease to be amazed by some of the arcane and bizarre rules of different jurisdictions, but this takes the cake. How can anyone reasonably justify leveeing taxes on a property that is rendered unusable and unsellable simply due to a govrernment agency's lack of willingness or ability to provide the owner with an address?(**** It's interesting to note that upon review of the historical tax rolls for those landlocked properties that the tax valuation on those properties nearly quadrupled from 2005 - 2006, from ~$70,000/AC to ~$280,000/AC, with commensurate increases in property taxes.)

Not only does Park and Planning's position negate these people's ability to use the land, it also seems to be on track to either bankrupt them or force them to lose their property to tax liens.

I'd love to see how the P&P folks would react to their own comments from approval authorities if they themselves were to inherent land in this same situation. Then again, they'd probably already have a legal team lined up to resolve the situation to their immense benefit. Shameful.

To the reporter on this; Please provide an update on whether a collective legal action fund is put together for these folks to argue their case.
Jenny B

United States

#20 Jan 10, 2008
This is outrageous! One can almost be sure that if the parcels were owned by anyone with any political or financial clout the decision by Mont. County Park and Planning would have gone the other way. I would hate to believe that MPP is also taking advantage of the fact that the land owners are African American and possibly less politically and financially powerful than most. Since moving to Maryland from Wisconsin 30+ years ago, I have sadly observed many cases of institutionalized and personal racism that I naively thought (or hoped) had ended with the civil rights movement. The old "South" dies hard.
I would have to agree with most of the previous comments and it seems that there needs to be a thorough investigation into the process and persons involved in the decision making and many questions need to be explored. Although I don't have knowledge of the details of this case nor am I a lawyer, it's been my understanding that landowners cannot be "locked out" of the legal use of their land by denying access to a public road. In addition, in "real property" law" , rights to land use can be confirred by previous use or "squatters" rights. It appears that Mr. Rounds and his neighbors need a very good property law attorney and I'll bet many people would be willing to donate to a legal fund. I certainly would!
Certainly, laws and regulations have a purpose. However, we all know of many, many situations in which developers in Montgomery and Howard county have been given almost carte blanche to do as they wish because they have the financial clout to explore EVERY legal maneuver possible to get what they want.
I can recall another very prominent case of roads or easements disappearing so as to greatly benefit a developer in Howard County. The easement for Rte 100 had been on Ho. County's general plan for many years. Then, on a subsequent general plan, it disappeared. As a consequence, THE major developer in Ho. Co. was permitted to develop a huge parcel of land around the "disappeared" future highway making many millions in the process. And, of course, the prospective buyers of homes in the new development, when prudently consulting the general plan before buying into the development, found nothing that would negatively affect the value and quality of their new investments. Once the development was completed, however, the subsequent general plan "re-included" the much needed future Hwy 100. The values of all of the adjacent properties plummeted and needed to be walled off from the new hwy that was contructed some years later. Indeed, a couple of the homes had to be "condemned" because the highway was to cross their backyards.

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