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Settlement ends fight over floating walkway

The Baltimore Board of Estimates last week approved a settlement with the developer of The Moorings at Canton and the homeowners’ association there, ending a multiyear dispute over a pedestrian promenade along the waterfront.

The settlement will have the city contribute $400,000 toward the $1.1 million cost of building a new pedestrian waterfront walkway at the luxury Canton development, replacing the floating promenade that is there now. The developer of The Moorings will pay the remaining amount. The Moorings homeowners’ association will pay for repairs to the bulkhead and will handle future maintenance.

The city sued the developer of Moorings in August 2010, claiming the floating promenade was supposed to be temporary and the defendants were required under the original 2002 easement agreement to build a brick pathway on land to help complete the downtown waterfront walkway.

“That’s what it came down to, it came down to whether the floating promenade was supposed to be there forever, a year or just a day,” City Solicitor George A. Nilson said Friday.

The homeowners’ association joined the litigation later because it owns the section of land where the new walkway would be built. The association had concerns the new walkway amounted to a taking of the owners’ land. Nilson said the settlement resolved those issues as well.

“With this settlement, everyone is contributing something,” Nilson said.

The city’s spending board voted on Wednesday to approve the settlement to end the lawsuit. The only dissenting vote came from City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young.

Kevin Pascale, with Rosenberg|Martin|Greenberg LLP, who represented the homeowners’ association, did not return a call for comment on Friday.

Nilson said the decision came after looking at the cost of litigation compared to the end goal of making sure there was a permanent land-based promenade. He said if the city had had to build the promenade it would not have been built on the land.

“Even if the city had prevailed, the odds are the city would have had to construct a pier-based promenade,” Nilson said. “That would have cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars, and that is not including the legal costs involved with litigation and likely appeals that would have been involved. The city thought settlement was a reasonable outcome.”

He said litigating the case and the subsequent appeals would have likely added about $200,000 to the city’s cost.

The $400,000 from the city and the developer’s share will be placed in an escrow account.

There are about seven miles of pedestrian promenade downtown. Despite some gaps, the goal is to create a continuous walkway around the harbor.

MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE V. MOORINGS DEVELOPMENT AT CANTON

Court:

Baltimore City Circuit Court

Case No.:

24C10005641

Judge:

Pamela J. White

Proceedings:

Settlement

Outcome:

City approved settlement agreement with Moorings Development at Canton for $400,000.

Dates:

Suit filed: August 2010

Settlement approved: April 24, 2012

Plaintiffs’ Attorney:

Adam Levine and George A. Nilson with the Law Department of Baltimore City.

Defendants’ Attorneys:

Kevin J. Pascale with Rosenberg|Martin|Greenberg LLP in Baltimore and Richard Allen DeTar with Miles & Stockbridge P.C., in Baltimore.

Count:

Zoning issues