EASTON — The Talbot County Council voted Nov. 17 to delay the vote on a resolution abandoning a portion of Kates Point Road, with the council citing the coronavirus pandemic and a flood of public opposition to the proposal as reasons not to abandon it now.
County Council President Corey Pack said he received more than 60 emails and letters from the public. Many kayakers, swimmers and paddlers are opposed to the abandonment of a portion of that public road because they use it to launch into the Choptank River.
Pack said the vote was not needed “at this time,” noting that the resolution does not have an expiration date.
“Tabling this does not kill it, it does not mean it will expire,” he said. “But we’re in the middle of a pandemic — maybe this is not the time to do this. People want to get out now and destress and look at the marsh over there.”
Pack said the vote could be picked up at a later time, saying it could be “a week or a month” before they do so. The council agreed to do more research, but Councilman Pete Lesher said he was ready to vote against it now.
“I have enough information to see that this is not in the public interest,” he said.
Kates Point Road is a public one, though the surrounding land is owned by a wealthy property owner, Matt Friedrich. He bought the land in 2018 for more than $5 million.
Earlier this year, Friedrich — who is personally worth $11 million, and works for a Fortune 500 company, Cognizant Technology Solutions — said there was too much trespassing on his property, and he sought closure of the road so he could install a gate.
Friedrich currently lives in Chevy Chase and is renting the house to a family. But he plans to live at the home eventually, and does not want trespassers on his land.
Friedrich’s wife is a U.S. District Court Judge appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017, and his father was Klaus Friedrich, a former chief economist at Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. Dresdner was one of the largest banks in the world in the 20th century.
The county council has expressed interest in abandoning a 0.4-mile stretch of that road in order to save money on maintaining it.
Friedrich’s neighbors came out in opposition to the proposal, with Linda Wise saying an installed gate on the road would be a hassle and only benefit Friedrich.
Pack said he had time to review Wise’s letter, and he determined the gate would limit access to her home and the Choptank for the public.
“Any gate being placed on that roadway,” he said, “would impede people going down and enjoying that side of the river.”