Baltimore County To Acquire Contested 258 Acre Megachurch Property For Open Space

An October 20 Baltimore Sun article reported that Baltimore County has approved a $3 million to purchase a 258 acre tract of undeveloped land in the rural community of Granite from the Bethel AME Church.  The article noted that Bethel had wanted to use the site for a new megachurch but was challenged by rural neighbors who claimed a megachurch was not in keeping with Granite’s rural character.  Both the State and the County are contributing to the $3 million purchase price.  From the article:

The state’s portion, which comes from Program Open Space, will be $1,882,500, the average of the two appraisals. The county’s portion, $1,117,500, will be used to release a lien on the property.  …

Democratic Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver, who represents the area, said the sale of the property works out well for all parties: the church, the neighbors and the county.  …

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz backed the purchase of the property, funds for which were included in this year’s county budget.

“From an environmental perspective, this parcel is particularly beneficial to preserve as open space due to its large size and varied terrain featuring steep slopes, forest and streams,” Kamenetz said in a statement.

The property will be used as “passive recreation,” which may include activities such as walking and bird-watching. After the purchase is finalized, the county plans to seek feedback on how to use the property.

The article also noted that the purchase price was approximately $1 million more than the appraised value of the land but that all involved parties felt that the final negotiated price represented a fair deal to the County.