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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Bay Club sale impediment removed by commissioners

(April 8, 2021) One more impediment to the sale of the Bay Club and an adjacent property outside of Berlin to the Department of Natural Resources was removed by the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday, further clearing the way for the plan to turn the combined 673 acres into woodlands.
Two minor hitches in the $4.2 million deal between the state and property owners the Carl M. Freeman Companies (Bay Club LLC and CMF Development) were a forest preservation easement and a stormwater management agreement between the club’s previous property owner and the county.
While removing the forest preservation easement would be of no major consequence, given the reforestation plan, county Department of Environment Deputy Director David Bradford said in a memo to the commissioners that vacating the stormwater agreement would be a more complex exercise.
Entered into by the county and the club’s previous owner, Haley-Majewski Enterprises, at the time of the club’s construction in 1997, stormwater management agreements typically remain in force for perpetuity, Bradford said. Freeman bought the parcels in 2000.
The state, however, must maintain its own environmental standards, thus obviating the need for local regulation.
With the release of these encumbrances by the county, the sale of the land on Libertytown Road can proceed, thus allowing Berliners to breathe easier after years of worrying that a major development of some type would rise on the town’s perimeter.
In 2015, Freeman was contemplating building 300 luxury homes there, and town officials debated the annexation of the club property. That changed a year later, when Freeman embarked on an attempt to convert the club’s grounds into a camping and RV resort. Freeman abandoned that idea in 2017, and in 2019 closed the club because of falling revenues.
The plan envisioned by the DNR is to restore the woodlands and allow the property to be used for a variety of outdoor recreational pursuits.