The Board of Education voted to take this action in January. Before the Board voted to take this action they heard from MCPS staff. Board member Mike Durso asked MCPS Director of Facilities James Song if MCPS had ever been through a condemnation proceeding before, and if so, how long it was anticipated this process would take.
Mr. Song replied, "To my recollection, I don't think Board ever has gone into the condemnation process before, but I only been here 22 years. Who knows what went on before. But, I couldn't find any records beyond 22 years..."
Well, we found two previous condemnation proceedings by the Board of Education. One in 1994, and one in 1974.
In November of 1994, the Board of Education voted to begin condemnation proceedings (page 35 at link) for a Northeast High School site.
And, in 1974 the Board of Education appealed to the Court of Appeals of Maryland for a new trial in a condemnation proceeding. The Board wasn't happy with the result of the first jury trial. In the opinion the Court of Appeals said:
In essence, it may be said the Board's chief complaint is its state of shock at a jury verdict of $83,500, or about $24,000 per acre, which seems a bit high to it for unimproved back land in Montgomery County even in this present day and age...
...Judgment affirmed; appellant [Board of Education] to pay the costs.In January 2012, the Board of Education voted to condemn a private site without ever having seen the Site Selection Report. Once again, the Site Selection process was conducted in secret.
After the January 2012 Board meeting the Site Selection Report was posted on the MCPS website.
Take a look at the report and see the properties that were considered for this new school. Should condemnation have been the Board's first choice? What will be the cost of litigation in time and money?
NW Cluster ES SSAC Report Final