A new golf course won’t be landing on Greenbury Point in Maryland anytime soon.
Naval officials announced on Aug. 15 that they have halted deliberations on a proposal submitted by the Naval Academy Golf Association to construct a second golf course on the Anne Arundel County peninsula.
The move came after County Executive Steuart Pittman formally tendered a competing proposal, seeking to have the property leased to the county as a conservation and recreation area instead.
The Navy can’t consider more than one proposal at a time for a “sole source lease” at the site, said Ed Zeigler, director of public affairs for Naval District Washington. The existence of a second lease request “makes it no longer possible to consider either party’s request,” he said in a statement.
The announcement hands at least a temporary victory to residents and environmental groups who have been fighting to maintain public access to the 230-acre property.
“I am hopeful that this reflects a positive change of course for the Navy,” said Joel Dunn, president, and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “But I know with absolute certainty that the community will continue to advocate strongly for the permanent conservation of the Greenbury Point Conservation Area and for continued equitable public access until that outcome is achieved.”
The Naval Academy has operated an 18-hole golf course on the upper portion of the peninsula for more than 80 years. The course is open only to midshipmen, USNA faculty and staff, and active and retired military and civilian members.
Critics contended that adding another course would invade critical animal and bird habitats and create another source of nutrient pollution for an already troubled the Chesapeake Bay. The peninsula stretches into the Bay just south of the U.S. Route 50/301 Bay Bridge.
The land is owned by the Navy as part of the Naval Support Activity Annapolis facility and is used as an occasional training ground for midshipmen and as a buffer for a firing range. But for years, the Navy has allowed the public to access the property for hiking and viewing wildlife.
Opposition to a potential new golf course has been growing since the proposal went public in the spring. An online petition has surged past 5,000 signatures. U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, the Democrat who represents the district that includes Greenbury Point, has raised concerns about the plans.
In his statement, Zeigler said that NSA Annapolis is evaluating the status and future of the property but provided no further details.
This article was republished with permission from BayJournal.com.