Planned soccer field doesn't score with neighbors

Montgomery County plans to put 20 acres of school property on Brickyard Road in Potomac for public, recreational use. Neighbors and one longtime farmer say this could do more harm than good.

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(Photo by Stevedepolo via Flickr).

The planned soccer field isn't scoring many points among residents.

“I think the entire nature of this neighborhood will change,” Susan Rufkhar said. “My home is within sight and sound, so we'll be able to see and hear all of that and it would be difficult to pull in and out of my driveway.”

The school board is leasing the 20 acre school site on Brickyard Road to the county. Montgomery County says it needs more soccer facilities in the down-county region, as laid out in the 2002 Potomac master plan.

“The master plan specifically calls for this particular property to be used for ball fields if it's not used for a school,” said county spokesman Patrick Lacefield.

Some residents say they were left out of the dark during the discussions and only found out about the project in March.

“We were shocked that we were not notified...that the community was never notified that there was any change in use coming to the parcel,” said Ted Duncan, who heads the Civic Association of River Falls.

Nick M aravell says his livelihood rests on that land, where he's farmed for three decades.

“I have until the end of 2011 and then I don't have any assurance that I'll be farming here,” he said.

“This is public land, which should be used for public purpose and not for a private commercial farm,” counters Montgomery County’s Lacefield.

Public comments on the proposal to select a partner to develop the fields can be submitted until Thursday.
The civic associations in the community say they would like to stop the whole process. On Tuesday they filed a legal notice for a possible financial claims against county and board of education.

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