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'Farm Road' dispute: Now you see it - now you don't

The controversy over Sandy Spring's "Farm Road" is back in the news with the adamant denial of Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler that his office was ever investigating the matter. Others involved in the matter say they have met a number of times with attorneys from Gansler's office. Gansler's critics say he is trying to duck responsibility for the mess than Farm Road homeowners find themselves in.

The dispute dates back more than a decade, to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's approval of the Dellabrooke subdivision. According to a lawsuit filed in the matter, the commission was working from documents that may have been misleading or even false; the developer had omitted any reference to Farm Road, a private road that provided access to at least 20 properties. Without the full picture, the commission gave the go-ahead, not realizing that its approval effectively wiped Farm Road off the map.

Litigation followed the approval but apparently went nowhere. A Montgomery County legislative aide says the attorney general's office was looking into the matter in 2007. During the investigation, the aide says, prosecutors told her to file a complaint with the state Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, the agency that oversees licensed professionals like the developer.

In November 2007, though, the attorney general's office closed the file with no explanation. Five years later, Gansler claims the state has no jurisdiction in the matter.

For the people who live on Farm Road, the developer's actions have proved catastrophic. We'll explain why in our next post.

Source: WUSA 9, "Doug Gansler Denies Shutting Down 'Farm Road' Investigation," Scott Broom, June 12, 2013