Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Blandair Blues

When Nancy Smith died on February 16, 1997, her 300 acre Blandair farm in the middle of Columbia went up for grabs. Over the years Ms Smith had been approached by many developers, including The Rouse Company, to sell her property. She rebuffed them all. She even refused to negotiate with the State of Maryland for the land needed to extend MD 175 (Rouse Parkway) through her property. The state eventually resorted to condemnation proceedings in order to secure the land. The state sent her a check for the land which she never cashed.

Since she died without a will, her heirs were free to dispose of the property as they saw fit. Fortunately, the county and the state stepped in to purchase the farm for county parkland and prevent it from being developed with new homes.

The county appointed a 23 member citizen Blandair Planning Committee to develop a master plan for the park. After 19 months and three public meetings a master plan was approved in 2003.

Since that time, restoration work has commenced on the Blandair manor house and refinements have been made to the master plan. The revised master plan is shown in this post. Not surprisingly, this plan has generated some strong objections from the parks neighbors.

There will be a public meeting to discuss this revised plan on Thursday, September 11th at 7pm at Oakland Mills High School.


Anonymous said...

How do we know that she never cashed the check? I have heard that several times when this subject comes up, but how do we know that this actually happened and is not an urban legend?

It seems pretty hard to believe. How much was the check for?

Tom said...

I was once told by a prominent public servant that this property would be developed by the people who come up with money to pay for the development. Seems that is just what is happening.

Anonymous said...

It's quite believable that the check was for a huge amount and was never cashed.

God Bless Nancy Smith.

Anonymous said...

While it is certainly possible, I don't believe it. That is not to say that the check was fair compensation for the land that the State stole from her. Nancy Smith got ripped off in this deal.

Byron Hall said...

I can assure you that Miss Smith refused to accept that check for $149,000. It was deposited by the state into an interest-bearing escrow account, and it was redeemed only after her death.

Sources: Estate files of Elizabeth C. Smith; To Save Her Dream by Byron C. Hall, Jr., p. 36.