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During a calm Solomons Civic Association meeting Monday night, residents were given an update on Farren Avenue and the Solomons Island sidewalk project.

Smaller portion of Farren Ave. may be conveyed

Wilson Freeland, the county’s director of general services, explained that the county has continued to work with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Lab since the first public hearing regarding the closure of Farren Avenue.

“The goal was to look at still satisfying our agreement, but also make Farren Avenue look like it does currently,” Freeland said.

Originally, the county was to convey 15,140 square feet to the biological lab based on a 2001 lease between the 2001 Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and the UMCES CBL. It was discovered during 2011 lease negotiations that the land had never been conveyed.

After a public hearing in July in which nine residents, all frequenters of Farren Avenue, were in opposition to the road closure for fear of losing the view of the Chesapeake Bay the road provides and access to the Watermen’s Wharf and parking lot, the BOCC voted unanimously at a September meeting to close the public record and take no further action.

Wilson said that after negotiating with the lab, the land to be conveyed is now 7,700 square feet, which is the area south of the already existing gate on Farren Avenue, and that the county will continue to lease the Watermen’s Wharf.

“So, basically nothing changes,” remarked Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R).

Thomas Miller, director of the biological lab, said Tuesday morning that “we are proposing to transfer land from the current property line up to and including the existing fence.”

Miller added that “no proposals were ever going to affect the Watermen’s Wharf. I can never see us proposing to do that.”

Once the county has fulfilled its obligations from the original 2001 lease, Miller said, the renewal of another 10-year lease can begin.

The matter will be the subject of another public hearing before it can be finalized by the BOCC and ultimately conveyed.

Miller said that “after the experience of the first [public hearing], we’ll definitely” be at the next one.

Sidewalk project ‘still in infancy’

Attendees were given an update on where one of the last sidewalk segments, between Lore Road and Alexander Street, of the original Solomons Island Town Center Master Plan from 1986 stands.

The Solomons Island Sidewalk Project has been “on the front burner for close to 20 years now,” Clark told the attendees.

He explained that the BOCC hasn’t had the opportunity to see any plans or details about the project that were presented to residents at an informational meeting Sept. 15. During that meeting, about 15 residents expressed their unhappiness about the proposed project.

“You’ve had the pleasure of seeing plans we haven’t yet,” Clark told one resident, adding that it just shows the project is “still in its infancy.”

Clark told the attendees that the pavers — which many residents wanted — may be an issue because of cost and ADA standards.

“The money isn’t going to come out of the county budget at this point in time,” Clark repeated, saying that a “realistic funding mechanism” needs to be found for the project to begin.