Howard County Reaches Agreement of Sale to Purchase Savage Remainder Property
4.8-acre property, once targeted for development, to become public open space.
County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that an Agreement of Sale has been reached to acquire the Savage remainder property, a five-acre parcel located to the west of Savage Mill, for $1.725 million. Howard County will now preserve the property as open space. The County will use Program Open Space (POS) – state funding designated for outdoor recreation and open space areas for public use – to complete this transaction.
Development of the Savage remainder property has long been controversial due to its environmental significance. This property has been the target of proposed development since 2013, transitioning through iterations ranging from 15 units per acre to a maximum of 35 units. The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks will now preserve the property as open space available for use by the public.
“Promoting green infrastructure and continuing park improvements are priorities of my administration,” said Ball. “We listened to and heard the concerns from the Savage community, and will preserve this valuable green space that connects to Savage Park while contributing to the quality of life of all our residents. I’m also grateful for our District 13 representatives and our State Delegation for prioritizing Program Open Space funding, and the expansion of parkland in Howard County, which helped us bring this project into fruition.”
“Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we see the critical importance of providing open space for communities” said Councilwoman Christiana Rigby. “I am so grateful that County Administration has worked with the Savage community to preserve this important ecological area in southeastern Howard County, and I look forward to future public use of the Savage remainder land.”
The property is designated by the State of Maryland as a Targeted Ecological Area, reserved for lands and watersheds of high ecological value that have been identified as conservation priorities. Additionally, the property is part of Howard County’s Green Infrastructure Network that connects ecologically valuable forests, wetlands, meadows, waterways and other natural areas.
“As we discussed the purchase of the Savage remainder property, we knew that we would need to respect the parcel’s ecological importance as much as possible.” stated Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “After we complete the purchase, our next step will be to meet with the community to determine a shared vision for the parcel. This may include a pathway or other environmentally-sensitive improvements that would allow for passive recreation opportunities.”
“We are indebted to the widespread support for preserving this parcel from citizens and organizations on the local, state, and national level. But it is ultimately Dr. Ball’s recognition of the environmental and historic significance of this land which got us over the goal line. The Savage Community will be forever grateful,” said Susan Garber, Savage Community Advocate.
Following the execution of the Agreement of Sale, a number of conditions precedent will need to be met, including completion of the subdivision process, in order for the County to take ownership of the property.
Some background (what I could find…not sure how up to date this information is given the source):
In 2013, the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning issued a comprehensive zoning update that included zoning changes to allow density increases for the “Savage remainder” property. The five acre plateau of woodland with steep drops to the Patuxent on two sides that was not purchased by the county as part of Savage Park. Buzzutto homes proposed a housing project called the Settlement at Savage Mill which included significant grading changes and donations of land by the parks department to the developer to maximize density, which was opposed by a referendum attempt. The 7000-person referendum attempt was suppressed by the landowners’ attorney, William Erskine, who sits on the economic development agency as well as the same law firm as County Executive Ken Ulman’s father.
Yeager, Amanda (12 March 2014). “Savage community proposes option for development concerns“. The Baltimore Sun.
Yeager, Amanda (21 August 2014). “Howard petitioners take referendum issue to legislators“. The Baltimore Sun.
“Howard County Zoning Referendum Struck Down by Special Appeals Court“. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
I was unable to turn up much else via Google searches. I am generally not a fan of using this information (Wikipedia) as a source of information but I thought something was better than nothing on this topic….and it did provide links to other sources (Baltimore Sun and Offit|Kurman)
Note – the image in the article is not of that area…just my representation of that wooded area.