MARYLAND

Potomac soccer field devlopment halted, county surrenders lease to land

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The protracted fight over soccer fields at Nick's Farm in Montgomery County is over, and soccer fields are off the table.

Photo: Flickr/Steven DePolo

As first reported by Potomac Patch, Montgomery County officials have decided to surrender a lease for the Brickyard Road School Site and end their mission to construct a soccer complex on the organic farm.

In a brief, two-paragraph letter to the president of the county's Board of Education dated Feb. 19, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett stated the county's decision to not proceed with the development of the Potomac land.

Potomac Patch reports that the decision came during a closed-door Board of Education meeting.

The dispute over whether to build the soccer fields has been a long and contentious one, with neighborhood activists fighting to stop the project.

Nick Maravell has operated Nick's Organic Farm and an education center on the land for more than three decades. Montgomery County has held the lease, allowing him to operate the farm.

The process has been muddled by allegations that Leggett hid information from the community about the decision-making process.

In recent months, many high-ranking officials in Maryland, including Gov. Martin O'Malley, came out against the proposed soccer complex.

Most recently, Montgomery County School officials were spotted Tuesday changing the locks at Nick's Farm in a move they say was intended to encourage the Maravells to remove their equipment.

"Mr. Maravell has no right to be on the property," a Montgomery County Schools spokesman told ABC7 on Tuesday. "On. Aug. 17, he was sent a letter saying he could access the property only to harvest existing crops."

School officials contend that the Maravells were supposed to have vacated the farmland by the end of last December.

READ MORE at potomac.patch.com.

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