On June 1, 2020, a 3-judge panel in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals heard NAG's appeal of a Circuit Court ruling upholding the Wicomico County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) refusal to hear our request for a hearing to appeal the building permit for the DAF tank located on Porter Mill Rd. The Board of Zoning Appeals had refused to hear our appeal of the DAF tank building permit on the basis that we filed beyond their murky 30-day deadline for appeals to a building permit. The Circuit Court case, that we lost, was to be heard in March 2020 but was delayed until September 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. We then filed an appeal with the Court of Special Appeals in October 2020.
Each side had 20 minutes to state their case and answer questions from the judges. Our lawyer was very encouraged by the depth of questions asked of him. Likewise, he felt the questions asked of the lawyer for the County and the lawyer representing the owner of the tank showed the judges understood the essence of his argument.
It could be up to 60 days before the ruling is made. While NAG's lawyer said a ruling in our favor is not a certain outcome, he was "very optimistic" and that the hearing exceeded his expectations. Should it be in our favor, he has asked for the whole ball of wax--skip having to go before the Wicomico County Board of Zoning Appeals and go straight to Circuit Court with a lawsuit that, if won, would require the tank be taken down.
Another possibility is that the case be returned to the Wicomico Board of Zoning Appeals where it was originally denied a hearing. A ruling against us would not mean our effort has reached the brick wall; we would move forward with new strategies that are now being considered.