A victory for public access to the Chesapeake waterfront at Greenbury Point and an apparent resolution to a local controversy between the US Naval Academy and some nearby private citizens should be the result of nothing less than the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Biden in December.

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A view of the Bay Bridge from Greenbury Point. Photo by PropTalk

Language in the bill was introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin, and Representative John Sarbanes to protect public access at Greenbury Point Conservation Area in Anne Arundel County, which is Navy property managed by Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis as a natural resources conservation area. The site was under threat of being developed for the purposes of a second golf course located at Greenbury Point.

The passage of the language was praised by local leaders. Chesapeake Conservancy president and CEO Joel Dunn stated, “Senator Van Hollen, Senator Cardin, and Representative Sarbanes deserve enormous credit and gratitude. They listened to their constituents and took a stand for our trees and wildlife to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay and to ensure that everyone, not just the privileged few, will have access to one of the last remaining natural areas of the Severn River. We applaud those caring individuals and grassroots activists, Senator Van Hollen, Representative Sarbanes, and the conservation nonprofits who pivoted quickly and devoted countless unplanned hours to protecting this special place steeped in our nation’s history against this surprising threat.”

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman also issued a statement applauding the language, saying, “The inclusion of language in the National Defense Authorization Act that protects public access at Greenbury Point is an incredible step forward in our effort to conserve this land and expand public water access. Thank you to Senator Van Hollen, Senator Cardin, and Congressman Sarbanes for listening to our residents and leading this conservation effort and thank you to all of our community members and organizations whose advocacy made this possible. We will continue our work to protect Greenbury Point and natural areas like it to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay and ensure that all of our residents have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of our local waters.”