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Kent Island project developers to appeal denial of permit

The Baltimore Sun

Lawyers for a New-Jersey development firm seeking approval of a 1,350-unit waterfront community on Kent Island filed court papers yesterday notifying the state Board of Public Works the firm will appeal a recent ruling that denied a crucial permit for the Four Seasons project.

The one-page petition for judicial review, filed in Queen Anne's County Circuit Court, starts an administrative appeal process in which the state has up to 60 days to respond and the company has 30 days to file documents outlining its complaint, said John H. Zink III, a Towson attorney who represents K. Hovnanian, which has worked for nearly a decade to win regulatory approval.

The board -- Gov. Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp -- voted 2-1 on May 23 to deny a permit allowing the firm to build a small bridge, a community pier and a storm water system on a small portion of the sprawling 562-acre farm.

The project is the largest waterfront development proposed since the state adopted shoreline "critical area" restrictions in 1984.

"We believe two members of the board [O'Malley and Franchot] applied the wrong standard for review," said Zink. "When the Maryland Department of the Environment, the wetlands administrator for the board and the Army Corps of Engineers all said we met all the requirements for the permit, the board should have upheld it."

On May 9, the board postponed a vote on the wetlands permit request, then toured the site May 18, before voting two weeks later.

State officials had little to say late yesterday because they had not seen the document

"We are confident that the board's decision was lawful and will be upheld," said O'Malley spokesman Sasha Leonhardt.

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