Attorney General Gansler, Critical Areas Commission, File Lawsuit against Homebuilder for Violations on Little Dobbins Island

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the Critical Area Commission against Daryl C. Wagner and his corporation, DCW Dutchship Island, LLC. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, describes violations of Maryland’s Critical Area law for illegal building and construction in the Critical Area buffer on Little Dobbins Island in the Magothy River, Anne Arundel County and seeks restoration and mitigation.

Earlier this year, Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly strengthened Maryland’s Critical Area law to ensure more adequate protection of the most environmentally sensitive and significant lands within Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Bays watersheds. The new law gives the Critical Area Commission authority to pursue violations of the Critical Area law. This lawsuit is the first such action under the new law which went into effect July 1, 2008.

“ We cannot ignore the blatant violations of the Critical Area law on Little Dobbins Island and excuse them after the fact,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Today’s lawsuit on behalf of the Critical Area Commission seeks removal of the illegally built structures and restoration of Little Dobbins Island. Enforcing the laws to protect the Magothy River and the Chesapeake Bay is our top priority.”

Mr. Wagner, an experienced registered homebuilder in Maryland, and his company built a home, gazebo, boat ramp, driveway, sidewalks, sheds, pool, deck and patio, increasing the impervious surface on Little Dobbins Island by more than 6,000 square feet. Grading and disturbance of as much as 31,000 square feet resulted in the removal and clearing of a considerable number of trees and natural vegetation from Little Dobbins Island within the Critical Area buffer.

“ Action to reverse the harm caused by this egregious violation of the law is long over due,”” said Critical Area Commission Chair Margaret G. McHale. “”Requiring restoration and mitigation for the irresponsible development on Little Dobbins Island is the best way to put an end to this long, drawn-out situation and achieve meaningful benefits for the wildlife, fish, and people who call the Magothy River home.”

The complaint alleges violations of both the Anne Arundel County Critical Area Program and the state law and seeks to require Mr. Wagner and DCW Dutchship Island LLC to remove the illegally built structures and restore and mitigate according to plans approved under Anne Arundel County’s Critical Area Program.