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Long-troubled Glen Burnie property under contract for sale

Sandra German, president of Greater Fernglen Community Association Inc is concerned about a tract of land reportedly co-managed by Hogan Companies.

The Hogan Companies has brokered the sale of a long-troubled property in Glen Burnie near the light rail station for an undisclosed price.

“This property is currently under contract pending sale and we are not authorized to discuss any details of that transaction,” wrote Jacob Ermer, a vice president of the Hogan Companies, in an email to The Sun in response to questions about the site this week.

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The nine-acre wooded site, which is owned by Cromwell Farms Inc. of Woodbine, is zoned for commercial development, which could allow for a development involving a retail, office, restaurant, automotive or hotel project. It is a short walk from the Cromwell Light Rail station in Anne Arundel County.

Ermer would not disclose details of the pending sale — or what is planned for the long-vacant site — but the company had listed the property for sale at a price of $1.2 million.

Debris on a tract of land in Anne Arundel County. the Maryland Department of Environment said trash at the site had an "adverse impact on the environment."
Debris on a tract of land in Anne Arundel County. the Maryland Department of Environment said trash at the site had an "adverse impact on the environment." (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

For years, the site has been the subject of complaints from a nearby community association, which argues its high weeds and widespread trash are a public nuisance. Neighbors say they frequently find needles and broken glass on the property, while trash and debris ends up in nearby Sawmill Creek.

In January, after receiving complaints from neighbors, the Maryland Department of the Environment visited the site and described it as an “encampment for squatters” with at least a dozen tents set up.

“The property is very littered with litter blowing into neighboring properties and into Sawmill Creek,” wrote Roy Karkosh, a state compliance specialist.

Sandra German, president Greater Fernglen Community Association Inc., faults the owner Cromwell Farms Inc., county and state governments, and Hogan Companies, hired to broker the sale, for not cleaning it up.

”The grass is up to your hips. The trash is unbelievable. It’s deplorable conditions,” German said. “If I’m going to sell my home, I’m going to make it look the best I can.”

In an email this week, Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Ryan Frashure said Cromwell Farms has received notices from the county zoning office about cleaning the property.

Richard Hoenes, husband of property owner Mary Hoenes, said in a phone interview the couple recently spent $6,000 cleaning up the property. But, he said squatters frequently return and continue to leave behind trash and debris.

“It’s a problem,” he said. “We chase people out and they just go to another part of the woods.”

German acknowledged there has been “progress” in cleaning up the site in recent months.

Tents were set up on the property when The Sun visited recently, but no one could be located camping there to interview.

Sandra German, president of Greater Fernglen Community Association Inc in front of a homeless camp at a property for sale in her community.
Sandra German, president of Greater Fernglen Community Association Inc in front of a homeless camp at a property for sale in her community. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Ermer said the Hogan Companies was only hired to sell the property.

“Hogan Companies has no management, clean up, or maintenance responsibilities for the property,” he wrote.

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Gov. Larry Hogan is the founder of the Annapolis-based Hogan Companies, which has completed more than $2 billion in real estate deals since 1985 and has continued to thrive since Hogan took office in 2015.

The governor has stepped aside from running the company and turned his assets over to be managed by a trust. Hogan Companies is now run by the governor’s younger brother, Timothy Hogan.

Brian Schleter, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, said workers from the department’s Homeless Outreach Team regularly visit the site to try to help people who are camping there.

Schleter said that the outreach workers visit the site in Glen Burnie “at least” weekly and the agency has placed six people from the property in permanent housing since last year, with six others in the process of finding housing.

“There are currently 10 individuals staying there, down from a documented high of about 40 back in 2012,” he wrote in an email.

Mario Berninzoni, director of the Arundel House of Hope, which provides services for the homeless in the area, said more needs to be done to provide affordable housing for the county’s poor.

“We operate a shelter that only operates from October to April,” he said. “People have no place to go and they resort to camping out. We need more affordable housing. That’s our biggest problem.”

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