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Montgomery Council Wants Say In Plan To Lease County Property

Bill challenges county exec's power to lease Brickyard School site

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Nick Maravell, the farmer who is currently running an organic farm on the old Brickyard Middle School property in Potomac, Md. County Executive Isiah Leggett is planning to lease the land for athletic fields. 
Jessica Gould
Nick Maravell, the farmer who is currently running an organic farm on the old Brickyard Middle School property in Potomac, Md. County Executive Isiah Leggett is planning to lease the land for athletic fields. 

Montgomery County residents have an opportunity to weigh in on a bill concerning the leasing of county-owned land. The bill before the Montgomery County Council would give the board oversight of a plan to turn Brickyard Middle School into privately-run athletic fields.

Certain community groups are upset with plans by county executive Isiah Leggett to lease county-owned property to private developers. One case in particular is in Potomac, where the site of the former Brickyard Middle School is slated to be leased and turned into privately-run athletic fields.

Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner represents that area, and he says recent conversations with residents convinced him that the council needed to have a say on the decision.

"The community came to me and said, 'Council member Berliner, you're the council president ... what can you do about this?'" Berliner said. "And I said I can't do anything about it because this is the sole prerogative of the county executive."

Berliner says the bill is in line with the county charter, which gives the council final say on matters like the budget. A spokesman for Leggett disagrees, saying land sale negotiations are a specific function of the county executive's office.

Correction: The original version of this story erroneously stated that Montgomery County was looking to sell county-owned property. The bill instead proposes leasing the land for privately-run athletic fields.

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