HOLLYWOOD, Md.—The county government is considering paying nearly $2 million for 158 acres on South Sandgates Road in Mechanicsville; the issue will come up for debate at the Aug. 2 meeting of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County.
Commissioner Todd Morgan said the reason for the purchase was to provide more boat launch space for access to the Patuxent River.
"A lot of that money is coming out of Project Open Space funding," Morgan said. The biggest complaint is the lack of access for boats to the Patuxent River.
"This could be a great way to do it."
Morgan called the potential purchase a "good deal" and a "worthwhile proposition."
Commissioner Mike Hewitt said the purchase of land was a significant one from a sheer size perspective.
"It's going to be beach front but there could be fields there, too," Hewitt said. "It has a really big beach.
"There's a lot of potential there."
The $1.8 million price tag was based on an appraisal the county had commissioned, Hewitt said, and was well below the asking price of the owners, described in county notices as the Fortier Farm Family Limited Partnership.
The County Times learned that the other assessment appraised the land's value at $1.76 million.
The asking price from the sellers was $3.5 million, Hewitt said.
The purchase could be funded by half by the Department of Natural Resources, Hewitt said, and when he visited the property he saw that it was about one-half or one-third wooded with some homes and barns on the parcel.
He said there was no preliminary plan that he knew of to develop the property.
County Attorney George Sparling said the commissioners would have the option to purchase the land Aug. 2 without a public hearing.
The Maryland public meeting laws only required that they announce the potential purchase before the scheduled commissioner meeting, he said.
Any public comment would be at the allowance of the county commissioners, Sparling said.
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