CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Board of Appeals officially voted Wednesday, Oct. 9, in favor of K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons claim that the Developer’s Rights and Responsibilities Agreement was tolled due to litigation.
According to the ruling, which was postponed from the Tuesday, Sept. 17, hearing, the BOA agreed with K. Hovnanian’s lawyer Joseph Stevens that legal precedent supported an administrative body extending the DRRA from K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Kent Island LLC from Sept. 17, 2022, to Sept. 17, 2030.
“K. Hovnanian is very pleased that the board voted to confirm that the DRRA has been tolled by operation of law,” said Mike Irons, K. Hovnanian’s division president. “The board recognized that the failed attempts to stop Four Seasons tolled the DRRA. Under the board’s decision, both the County and K. Hovnanian will have the full 20 years bargained for to fulfill their obligations.”
Jesse Hammock, legal counsel who represented a number of private citizens in the Chester and Stevensville area at the hearing, argued only a legal body and not an administrative board, like the county’s Board of Appeals, would have jurisdiction in the matter.
Hammock also cited legal precedent that allowing the matter to proceed in BOA jurisdiction would provide unwarranted “equitable relief” of a contract that was written by K. Hovnanian’s legal counsel and negotiated extensively soon thereafter.
Following the ruling, clients represented by Hammock did not rule out further legal action to challenge the BOA decision.
“Based on the comments of the Board of Appeals members, we believe that the board wholly failed to address the legal arguments against Hovnanian’s unprecedented attempt to extend until 2030 its soon-to-expire 20-year agreement with the County for the construction of Four Seasons,” said Jay Falstad, executive director of Queen Anne’s Conservation Association.
He said, “QACA is considering seeking judicial review of the board’s decision, while awaiting the written opinion of the board before making a final determination as to our next steps.”
The age-restricted Four Seasons project is proposed to be constructed in four phases that total 1,079 dwelling units and a community clubhouse. The county granted preliminary approval to the entire project in 2004 and will conduct an additional review prior to granting final approval for each phase.