Oak Tree Farm, a family horse farm in western Baltimore County for more than 50 years, was sold yesterday at public auction for $1.5 million.
Neither the seller - identified in auction documents as the estate of Alice F. Keech - nor the auctioneer would say who purchased the property in the community of Relay. However, developers have expressed interest in building homes on the 32.7-acre tract, on the southwest corner of Interstate 95 and Route 166.
As recently as last year, a private company examined the possibility of developing the land, but the idea was dropped because of community opposition and lack of public water and sewer service.
Dennis Wertz, a county planner, said yesterday that he did not know the identity of the farm's new owner. He said that a major portion of the property is designated DR-1, which would permit one house per acre.
While members of the community were aware the property was being auctioned, interest in the buyer was not evident yesterday.
The farm "has been a topic of discussion in the past, last year I guess, but it has not really been an issue," said Gina Hrybyk, president of the Relay Improvement Association. "We will probably take it up at our next meeting."
Jack Billig, a partner in A.J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers, said yesterday that members of the Keech family did not want to release the identity of the new owners of the picturesque property. The land contains a two-story brick Cape Cod-style home, two garages, a barn, two sheds, a horse ring and the "remains" of a swimming pool, according to the auctioneer's records.
"It was a pretty busy auction with about 60 or 70 bidders," Billig said.
A woman who answered the telephone yesterday at the Keech home on Keech Road said only that the "sale was very personal. ... Thousands of people don't need to know my business."