Keedysville creates planning commission

January 14, 1997


Staff Writer

KEEDYSVILLE - Keedysville has a new planning commission, just in time to consider a proposed development that has stirred controversy in the community.

The Keedysville Town Council on Dec. 4 passed an ordinance establishing a town planning commission, zoning appeals board and historical commission.

Creation of the planning commission was hastened by developer Victor Peeke's plans to build a development off Dogstreet Road called "Trails of Little Antietam," which would put about 35 new houses in Keedysville and another 66 outside the town limits, Councilwoman Yvonne Hope said.


"We've never really been faced with an issue like this before," she said.

The new planning commission consists of Albert Resh, Shannon French, Thomas Simmons and Tim Robertson, with Hope serving in an ex officio capacity, she said.

On the zoning appeals board are Robert Edwards, Steven Walla, C.B. Henderson and Matthew Hull, Hope said.

Adelaide Dailey, Sylvia Kremp and Cathie Laurie were appointed to the Keedysville Historical Commission, according to Hope.

The Town Council tried to make all three of the unpaid, volunteer boards representative of Keedysville's population of about 500 people, she said.

Some area residents have expressed concerns about the burden the new development would place on the water and sewer systems, the roads and the schools in an historic and rural community.

A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Keedysville sent a Nov. 3 letter to town attorney Robert Kuczynski charging that the town acted illegally by giving preliminary approval to the proposed development without a planning commission in place.

Concerned Citizens member Sue Gemeny said she was surprised the Town Council acted so quickly but she applauded the decision to establish the boards.

"We were glad for all three of those," Gemeny said.

Keedysville Mayor Ralph Taylor said the group's letter had "nothing in the world" to do with the Town Council's decision to create the three boards, which had been in the works for awhile.

The Planning Act of 1992 requires towns that want to exercise planning and zoning authority to update their comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances by June 1997, Maryland Office of Planning Regional Planner Bill Atkinson said.

Under state law, planning commissions must review subdivision plats and update comprehensive plans, he said.

Atkinson said he gave the town some guidance in setting up its planning commission and conducted an orientation Friday for the commission and the zoning appeals board.

Keedysville received a $7,000 grant from the Appalachian Region Commission to update its comprehensive plan, a task that hasn't been done since 1975, he said. The town will have to commit another $2,500 to the project.

The Town Council will likely select a consultant from among eight bids by the end of January, Atkinson said.

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