Fells Point Recreation Pier
Jus Publicum vs. Jus Privatum
courtesy of a private owner
In 2008 as Commissioner of Land Patents, I was asked by the Maryland Wetlands Administration to address the question of the reach, underwater, of a pre-1862 land patent. The result was an acrimonious exchange with a former Assistant Attorney General assigned to DNR who was then representing a client who proposed building a hotel on the pier, a project that was revived in 2015 (see Baltimore Business Journal, "Kevin Plank sees Fells Point Rec Pier hotel as an extension of Under Armour," Mar 3, 2015, 1:46pm EST Updated Mar 3, 2015, 2:15pm EST).
Based on extensive research, I came to the conclusion that the then developers who had purchased the property from the City could not claim that the pier sat over their private wetlands. For my opinion, with exhibits, the lawyer's response, and the draft of my reply, see:correspondence. The virtual working files are to be found on 16ecprem872.
The issue is one of private versus public interest. Which should prevail? It is an ongoing debate that has yet to be resolved.