Wincamp Partnership v. Anne Arundel County, Md.

Citation458 F. Supp. 1009
Decision Date07 September 1978
Docket NumberCiv. No. K-76-937.
PartiesWINCAMP PARTNERSHIP, OTC Partnership, Jackson Grove Limited Partnership and Maryland National Realty Investors, Inc. v. ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MARYLAND, Thomas D. McKewen, Director, Maryland Environmental Service, James B. Coulter, Secretary, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Neil Solomon, Secretary and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)


Thomas M. Downs and C. Fred Delavan, Annapolis, Md., for plaintiffs.

Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen. of Md., and Warren K. Rich, Randall M. Lutz, Baltimore, Md., and Richard E. Rice, Annapolis, Md., Asst. Attys. Gen. of Md., for defendants McKewen, Coulter and Solomon.

Michael R. Roblyer, County Sol. for Anne Arundel County, Md., and John M. Court and Thomas G. Redman, Asst. County Solicitors for Anne Arundel County, Md., Annapolis, Md., for defendant Anne Arundel County.

FRANK A. KAUFMAN, District Judge.

Several land developers with holdings in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, challenge the constitutionality of various alleged actions and omissions of that County and of officials of several state agencies ("state defendants"). Plaintiffs allege that these actions and omissions have, contrary to the federal Constitution and in violation of Maryland statutes, unlawfully impeded plaintiffs' ability to develop their land. Jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 with respect to plaintiffs' federal constitutional claims, Donohoe Constr. Co., Inc. v. Montgomery County Council, 567 F.2d 603, 607 (4th Cir. 1977), and under the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction with respect to plaintiffs' state law claims. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 16 L.Ed.2d 218 (1966).


The facts are largely undisputed. Three of plaintiffsWincamp Partnership ("Wincamp"), OTC Partnership ("OTC"), and Jackson Grove Limited Partnership ("Jackson Grove") — are owners of undeveloped tracts of land totalling about 580 acres in a section of the County known as the Odenton Town Center.1 That land is located in a part of Anne Arundel County served by a public sewage collection system which drains into the Patuxent Wastewater Treatment Plant, a county-operated sewage treatment facility. The fourth plaintiff, Maryland National Realty Investors, Inc. ("Maryland National"), provided financing to the other three plaintiffs for the purchase of various tracts of land in the County.

In purchasing those properties, plaintiffs say that they relied upon the County's General Development Plan and, in particular, its Odenton Development Plan. The General Development Plan, designed to provide a guide to the future development of the County, was adopted by the County Council in 1968. Subsequently in 1972, the Council adopted the Odenton Development Plan as part of the general plan. The Odenton Town Center was zoned for residential use with maximum densities of five to twenty-two units per acre. Plaintiffs also contend that they relied on the informal projections of several engineers in the County Department of Public Works concerning when public water and sewerage facilities would be available. The County denies that it has made any representations to plaintiffs regarding land use or capital facilities other than in direct response to specific inquiries by plaintiffs. Plaintiffs and the County have stipulated that no alleged representation or commitment by the County to furnish public sewer to any of plaintiffs occurred after July 17, 1974.

Before a developer of a subdivision can obtain final approval of a subdivision plat by the County, the developer is required to submit a sketch plan, a preliminary plan, and a final plan with regard to the subdivision. See Anne Arundel County Code § 13-101 et seq. Development of the various tracts owned by plaintiffs has advanced through different stages of the administrative process. None of the developments, however, has yet reached the stage of submission of a final plat.

Under an amendment to a Maryland statute which became effective in July 1974, County authorities are prohibited from approving subdivision plats or granting building permits unless projected sewerage facilities are adequate to serve the proposed development.2 According to correspondence referenced in the second amended complaint, plaintiffs were warned by County officials as early as February of 1974 that sewer connections were contingent on expansion of the Patuxent Wastewater Treatment Plan from its two million gallons per day (M.G.D.) capacity to four M.G.D. In 1975, certain County officials informed the developers of Odenton Town Center that no final plats were being approved in the Patuxent Wastewater Treatment Plant service area because of that plant's lack of capacity. The Patuxent plant was expanded to four M.G.D. capacity in 1976, but that capacity was allocated to approved subdivision plats which preceded the Odenton Town Center development. In 1975, County and State health officials informed plaintiffs that no final plats would be approved until additional capacity at the Patuxent plant became available. Plaintiffs and the County have stipulated that the present sewage flow through the plant is between 3.1 and 3.3 M.G.D., leaving a present unused but committed capacity of between .7 and .9 M.G.D. The average daily flow through the plant during May 1977 was 2.908 M.G.D.

The County and plaintiffs have also stipulated that none of plaintiffs have filed for either a building permit or a sewer connection permit for the Odenton Town Center properties. Neither building permits nor sewer connection permits would, in any event, be available to the properties at the maximum zoning density permitted until additional sewer capacity is available.3 The County and plaintiffs have also stipulated that the only public sewerage available to plaintiffs' properties is the sanitary sewer system operated and maintained by the County.4

The defendant Maryland Environmental Service is a governmental corporation organized under the laws of Maryland and existing under the aegis of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. According to a stipulation entered into by plaintiffs and state defendants on July 11, 1977, the following facts are seemingly established as they affect those parties:

The Maryland Environmental Service (the "Service") has, in the past, engaged in certain studies and made certain proposals, hereinafter described, relating to a Central Patuxent Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, but none of those studies or proposals have had any binding effect on the decisions or activities of Anne Arundel County, Maryland concerning operation or improvement of the existing Patuxent Wastewater Treatment Plant. In the early part of the 1971 calendar year, the Service on its own initiative made a study of the feasibility of a Central Patuxent Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Service then proposed its concept to the various political subdivisions, including Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which if that concept were implemented would contribute sewage flows to the regional facility. Because the concept was not initially embraced by those political subdivisions, and despite preliminary approval of the concept by the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Service commissioned a further feasibility study by an independent consultant, Engineering-Science, Inc. ("ESI"). The ESI study was completed in October, 1971, and later revised as of August 20, 1972. While neither the initial study by the Service nor the ESI study was mandated by Federal law, either study would have been sufficient for purposes of justifying a Federal grant application for design of the proposed facility, prior to enactment of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (P.L. 92-500) enacted into law on October 19, 1972. However, no application for grant assistance was made at that time because of lack of support for the regional concept from the affected political subdivisions. As the Maryland agency responsible for preparation of Comprehensive River Basin Management Plants pursuant to Section 102 of the 1972 FWPCA Amendments, the Service on July 15, 1973 commissioned the development of a Patuxent River Basin Wastewater Management Plan by an independent consultant, Matz, Childs & Associates, Inc. ("MCA"). The MCA plan incorporated the feasibility studies performed by the Service and ESI and called for construction of a regional wastewater treatment facility to service the Central Patuxent Area. On the basis of the aforementioned studies and planning activities, in 1973, the political subdivisions with jurisdiction in the Central Patuxent Area entered into negotiations with the Service concerning design and construction of a Central Patuxent Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Because the 1972 FWPCA Amendments and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the United States Environmental Protection Agency required preparation of a "Step I Facility Plan" prior to award of any Federal grant for design or construction, negotiations concerning the design and construction of the plant were deferred.

On October 1, 1974, the Service entered into a contract with Anne Arundel County, Maryland; the City of Bowie (located in Prince George's County, Maryland); and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, under the terms of which the Service was to engage a consultant to prepare a Step I Facility Plan for the Central Patuxent Study Area.

Chapter 732 of the Acts of Maryland of 1974 created the General Professional Services Selection Board within the State Department of General Services, making it and the Board of Public Works of the State of Maryland responsible for the procurement on behalf of all State agencies (except the Department of Transportation) of architectural or engineering services where the compensation for such services is in excess...

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  • Chesapeake Bay Village, Inc. v. Costle, Civ. A. No. M-79-1543.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 29 Octubre 1980
    ...they are based on the same set of facts, they may be joined together for the purpose of analysis. Wincamp Partnership v. Anne Arundel County, 458 F.Supp. 1009, 1025 n.16 (D.Md.1978). Under the rational basis test, the state and county defendants may not exercise their authority in an arbitr......
  • Welch v. BOARD OF ED. OF BALTIMORE CTY., Civ. No. K-79-1102.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 22 Julio 1979
    ...U.S. 315, 63 S.Ct. 1098, 87 L.Ed. 1424 (1943). See 1A Part 2 Moore's Federal Practice ¶ 0.2032-4. See also Wincamp Partnership v. Anne Arundel County, 458 F.Supp. 1009 (D.Md.1978). It may also be that denial by the Circuit Court for Baltimore County of the ex parte injunction calls for appl......
  • Offen v. County Council for Prince George's County, Md. Sitting as Dist. Council, 1445
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1992
    ...interest protected under the Due Process Clauses until they met the minimum safety requirements); Wincamp Partnership v. Anne Arundel County, 458 F.Supp. 1009, 1027 (D.Md.1978) ("A property owner has no vested right in the continuance of the zoning status of his land unless he has proceeded......
  • Cloutier v. Town of Epping, Civ. A. No. 76-311-L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of New Hampshire
    • 16 Septiembre 1982
    ...Henry and Murphy, Inc. v. Town of Allentown, 120 N.H. 910, 912-13, 424 A.2d 1132 (1980). See also Wincamp Partnership v. Anne Arundel County, Md., 458 F.Supp. 1009, 1027 (D.Md.1978) (applying common law These plaintiffs were placed on clear notice by the October 12, 1968 zoning ordinance an......
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