County Attorney: County Can't Regulate Loch Raven Reservoir

Opinion "casts enough doubt" Baltimore County bill allowing hiking and biking in forest areas of the city-owned reservoir.

A bill aimed at allowing hiking and biking in Loch Raven Reservoir may not be enforceable, according to an opinion issued by the Baltimore County attorney.

The Baltimore County Council is set today to take up a bill to allow hiking and biking in the reservoir area.

"Because the reservoir is a Metropolitan District asset owned by Baltimore City, The Baltimore County Council does not have the authority to pass legislation that would impose affirmative requirements regarding how the city manages the reservoir and the land surrounding the reservoir," wrote County Attorney Michael Field in an April 30 opinion.

Thomas Peddicord, a legal adviser to the council, told members during a Tuesday lunch meeting that they could pass the bill but it would not have the desired effect.

"What he's saying is it's not effective as to the Loch Raven property," said Peddicord. "The city may, indeed, comply but they have no obligation to comply."

Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, said Tuesday that the opinion is another in a line of frustrations over the issue.

"I don't know why the city can't compromise with the mountain biking community which is very engaged and willing to provide volunteers to maintain the trails," said Marks.

The councilman could not immediately say if he would withdraw his bill.

"We'll see what we can do," Marks said. "The opinion casts enough doubt on the effectiveness of the bill.

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