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M-NCPPC Refuses to Provide Public Documents
Maryland's Public Information Act requires government agencies to provide public access to their records. M-NCPPC has chosen not to abide by the Act, despite its civil and criminal penalties.
In early 2008, the volunteer advocate for the Farm Road property owners was asked by Baltimore Sun Newspaper reporter, James Drew, to respond to written statements allegedly made by M-NCPPC's General Counsel, Adrian Gardner. The alleged statements related to M-NCPPC's refusal to issue or restore deleted addresses to Farm Road property owners. The advocate's written responses and related attachments to the email request for public information are linked below.
The email was copied to all County Council members and the receipt of the email was confirmed. Despite the state law requirement that (i) all such requests for public information should be responded to within 30 days, and; (ii) provides for criminal penalties for failure to comply with the Public Information Act, M-NCPPC has refused to provide a complete response since 2008.
M-NCPPC did send a two page response that puported to include hundreds of pages of data. The response stated that the Commission does not maintain a log of staff who has made entries in the address book. In other words, there is no way to know who deleted the Farm Road addresses from the Commission's records.
M-NCPPC response to 1/10/2008 Public Information Act Request - did not include (i) attachments as noted, (ii) any written rules or regulations regarding address issuance, or; full size copy of the color map as requested.
On January 20, 2010, the advocate for the Farm Road Property owners submitted a second PIA request. It requested (i) any documents that evidenced the purported conservation easement that M-NCPPC claims exists over the right-of-way to five Farm Road properties, and which M-NCPPC uses to argue access to five Farm Road properties cannot be recognized, and; (ii) documents that were sent to or received from the Maryland Department of Planning [that resulted in Farm Road being removed from the State Property Map].
At the time the PIA request was made, SaveSandySpring had already received copies of emails between MNCPPC and the Maryland Department of Planning ("MDP"), thus they clearly existed within the Commission's records. The emails were the subject of WUSA TV reports on “backroom dealing” that resulted in Farm Road being wiped off the map a second time, only days after MDP had put Farm Road back on the. Regardless, M-NCPPC has never responded to the 2010 PIA request.
On May 21, 2013, Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich sent the Commission a letter requesting it respond to the PIA requests.
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