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August 29, 2014

D.C. Foundation in Fight With Landowner Over Housing Plan

A prominent Washington, D.C.-area philanthropy's plan to sell 634 acres of rural Maryland real estate for residential development has generated tension among locals, particularly the owner of a horse farm that would be surrounded by the new subdivision, The Washington Post writes. The Eugene B. Casey Foundation secured final approval from Frederick County, Md., commissioners last week for a rezoning to allow construction of more than 1,000 homes on the land.

The foundation says it will sell the property to a private developer to fund its charitable work, which includes support for area hospitals and cultural institutions. Critics contend the development will damage the local watershed and allege the foundation has acted vindictively toward Betsy Smith, owner of the 35-acre horse form, for refusing to sell it her land—for example, proposing a road plan that would cut off her access the area's main artery. The foundation has denied any ill intent.