Chester Engineers was requested to prepare a detailed report of findings reflecting environmental and/or land use issues that could impact a future sale or subdivision of a CSX property located along Fort Smallwood Road in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The CSX Port Parcel property was a wholly undeveloped site save for an unpaved interior access road (a “paper street” extension of Marley Neck Boulevard across the property), specific roadway perimeter improvements along Fort Smallwood Road for drainage and slope stability, an existing rail corridor at the eastern boundary and the site is covered with a light to moderate tree cover.
The main challenges in this effort were:
Little was known concerning this property as to whether encumbrances or limitations would impact its sale.
No other environmental information on the property was known to be current or available
The Interdisciplinary Approach
Our focus was be to investigate (in an expedited manner), restrictions or limitations impacting either the conveyance and/or subdivision of this property, as a result of potential environmental or land use regulations as CSX was in critical need of information concerning this property for which time was of the extreme essence. The main issues covered in this report included investigating Zoning, Critical Area, Floodplain, and Wetlands for which relevant data and information was obtained from Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning Offices, County Courthouse Offices (various), and a physical walk-through of the site. Additional insights into the property was based on information obtained onsite and/or through direct interviews and telephone discussions with government officials, regulatory agencies and from research into land databases maintained by various agencies.
The Sustainable Result
A thorough investigation yielded insights into:
Zoning restrictions which indicated the classified designated zone category for each of the multiple parcels that made up this large tract.
Areas designated as Critical Areas as defined by the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission and the restrictive designation for all the parcels.
Flood plain issues which prevented the construction of new structures on lands within the non-tidal 100-year flood plain.
All parcels located at the CSX property contained designated wetlands which were characterized as palustrine or riverine and the development regulations which needed to be complied with.
Specific recommendations were developed and provided as to the potential efforts, order of precedence and opportunities to circumvent restrictive covenants on the property.