A state panel has cleared the way for a new business park in western Charles County, approving a land transfer stalled for months because of a new law.
Last week, the Board of Public Works unanimously endorsed the transfer to Charles of a 50-acre parcel near the Maryland Airport in Indian Head that was part of the 1998 Chapman's Landing land deal with Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D).
The planned business park is expected to house an energetics technology center that will train engineers and conduct research and development in explosives.
"We hope it's going to be the catalyst for economic development on the western side of the county," Charles County Administrator Eugene Lauer said after Wednesday's vote.
The center would be a partnership between the county, the Center for Energetic Concepts Development at the University of Maryland, the College of Southern Maryland and the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head.
The land transfer was held up by board members, including Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), because of concerns about a new law that requires more oversight of the transfer and sale of state park and preservation land.
The board moved ahead only after receiving a letter from legislative leaders on the policy committee, which must review and approve such transfers under the new law.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) told the Board of Public Works that the Legislative Policy Committee had no objections to the transfer.
"This letter should constitute advance approval of the requirement that the LPC approve the transfer of land," the co-chairmen wrote to board members.
The property is part of what was known as Chapman's Landing when it was headed toward becoming a large subdivision. Developers had planned to build 4,600 houses, offices and a golf course there before Glendening halted the plans in 1998, backing the state's purchase of the land.