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Navy says dueling lease proposals for Greenbury Point not under consideration

NSS Annapolis towers are seen from Whitehall Bay in Maryland on July 11. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)

Dueling proposals for the Navy’s undeveloped property on Greenbury Point — either to build a new golf course for the U.S. Naval Academy or to manage the area as a county park — mean neither can be considered further as candidates to receive a noncompetitive lease, a Navy spokesman said late Monday.

The announcement appears to complicate two unsolicited proposals for the Greenbury Point conservation area, including an idea floated this year by Chet Gladchuk, the academy’s athletic director, to build a new 18-hole golf course there.

U.S. Naval Academy's proposal for a new golf course triggers uproar

Gladchuk, who also heads the Naval Academy Golf Association, urged the Navy to study the possibility of allowing the nonprofit organization to lease and build a second golf course, along with other recreational features, on the peninsula across the Severn River from the academy. He said the new course and other recreational features would benefit thousands of midshipmen, active and retired military personnel who golf at a discount, and the public.

The idea triggered immediate opposition by hikers, birders and environmentalists seeking to preserve the approximately 280-acre area. It also led to a counterproposal from Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman last week to lease and manage the area as a county park. Opponents argued that a new golf course would pollute the Chesapeake Bay, cut off public access to the water, and destroy a natural habitat for wildlife.

Anne Arundel County proposes managing Navy's Greenbury Point as a park

Each requested a sole-source lease for the Navy property, which is overseen by Naval Support Activity Annapolis, an installation that supports the academy and Navy properties on the peninsula. On Monday, the Navy announced that the emergence of unsolicited, competing interests in the property meant that a noncompetitive lease would no longer be possible.

“We received competing proposals from Anne Arundel County and the Naval Academy Golf Association for a sole source lease and management of Greenbury Point, which makes it no longer possible to consider either party’s request,” said Ed Zeigler, a spokesman for Naval District Washington, which oversees the Annapolis command. He said the local command “is currently evaluating the status and future of Greenbury Point in support of the mission of both the installation and the U.S. Naval Academy.”

Gladchuk said late Monday that it wasn’t immediately clear how the Navy’s announcement would affect the Naval Academy Golf Association’s proposal, but he said the organization would review the Navy’s position and “react accordingly.”

Opponents — who had posted the Navy’s statement to the Save Greenbury Point page on Facebook — sounded optimistic but cautious.

“I am hopeful that this reflects a positive change of course for the Navy, but I know with absolute certainty that the community will continue to advocate strongly for the permanent conservation of Greenbury Point Conservation Area and for continued equitable public access until that outcome is achieved,” Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy, said in an email.