Former Bay Club Property Acquisition Moving Forward After County Signs Over Easements

Former Bay Club Property Acquisition Moving Forward After County Signs Over Easements
The former golf course property off Libertytown Road and adjacent farm land will transition to uses such as “public hunting and trail-based activities” under a state plan. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Plans for the conversion of a former golf course outside Berlin to public trails and timber land continue to move forward.

The Worcester County Commissioners this week agreed to release easements associated with the Bay Club, a former golf course on Libertytown Road set to become public space.

“As attorney for Bay Club, LLC, owner of the property generally known as the Bay Club Golf Course, I am pleased that the county commissioners agreed to sign the Release of Stormwater Management Inspection and Maintenance Agreement,” attorney Mark Cropper said. “This was a condition of closing on the sale of the property to the Lower Shore Land Trust which intends to sell the property to the State of Maryland, Department of Natural Resources.  With this hurdle overcome, the parties should be able to move closer to a settlement date.”

Last fall, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposal to purchase two parcels—the Bay Club and a neighboring farm—totaling 673 acres. As part of the settlement, DNR required that forest conservation and stormwater easements and agreements be removed from the property. Bob Mitchell, the county’s director of environmental programs, said staff worked extensively with DNR and Cropper to come up with acceptable ways to terminate the agreements.

Commissioner Ted Elder expressed concern about the map provided, which he said wasn’t clear, and questioned the state’s intentions for the large property.

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“They’re going to tear most of the buildings down,” Mitchell said. “They’re going to plow up the cart path, they’re going to plant trees there and they’re going to make trails for a trail network … It’s going to add acreage to their forestry stock.”

The commissioners voted 6-1, with Elder opposed, to approve the release of easements for the property.

According to the Board of Public Works agenda last fall, the parcels contain a mix of forests and fields that will be managed by the Maryland Forest Service as an addition to the Chesapeake Forest Lands “for public hunting and trail-based activities such as walking and wildlife observation.” Equestrian trails will also be considered.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.