Appealing Critical Area Act
Violations in Maryland
In 1984, nearly 30 years ago, the Maryland
legislature passed the Critical Area Act. Far
reaching in scope, its purpose was to manage development responsibly within 1,000
feet of tidal waters in the state.
CBF is preparing to appeal two Maryland
Critical Area Act cases.
In Chesapeake Bay Foundation et al v. David
Clickner, CBF is challenging the construction of a large home proposed within the
foot space from
the water) on
in the Magothy River. After prevailing on
the right to bring the suit, CBF is now challenging the granting of modifications
regarding the area 100 feet from the water
(the Critical Area buffer). Argument will
occur January 9, 2014.
CBF’s Litigation Counsel,
works on Clean Water Act,
hazardous waste, and land use
In Margaret McHale et al v. DCW Dutchship
Island LLC et al., coincidentally also regarding construction on the Magothy River,
CBF is challenging the improper, after-the-fact approval of modifications obtained for
a large home, boat ramp, and lighthouse
on Little Island. Although the island is
entirely within the Critical Area, the owner
constructed a new home on the island
without any permits, variances, or amendments. Upon discovering the violations,
Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning officials retroactively approved the
construction. CBF has appealed to Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
Argument will take place in April 2014.
Opposing Wetlands Development
CBF is preparing to present its challenge to
a state-issued Water Protection Permit to
Tri City Properties. The permit allowed for
the destruction of 181 acres of protected,
nontidal wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia,
near the Stumpy Lake Nature Preserve.
Argument on the merits of the Commonwealth’s decision will take place before the
Virginia Court of Appeals the week of
December 9, 2013.
Recently, CBF successfully closed the final
chapter on a permit challenge to keep
the King William Reservoir in Virginia. If
built, the reservoir would
have been the
largest permit-ted destruction of wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic
region—over 430 acres. In 2005, the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers issued the permit
at the urging of then-Governor James
Gilmore. CBF, along with several co-plain-tiffs, successfully appealed the issuance of
the permit in 2009. The City of Newport
News then also officially abandoned the
project. This year the court awarded CBF’s
attorney fees in the permit challenge, marking the end of a sustained effort to protect
The Bay cannot be saved unless we take
better care of the land within its watershed.
That notion is what drives CBF’s work in
the courts to reduce pollution and protect
wetlands and critical areas.
uFor more information on CBF’s Litigation
Department, visit cbf.org/litigation.
F Land Use
Using the Courts to Reduce Pollution and Protect Critical Areas
With Christine Tramontana
A profound relationship exists between the water of the Chesapeake Bay and the 64,000-square miles of land comprising the
Bay’s watershed. Approximately 100,000 rivers and streams run
into the Bay. This tributary system directly connects farms,
forests, and developed communities in six states and the District
of Columbia with the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay’s land-to-water ratio is 15-to-1—larger than any other coastal estuary
in the world. When the land suffers from pollution and poor
management, the Bay’s water quality worsens.
Stumpy Lake Nature Preserve
King William County