Water and sewer service slated for Keedysville development

February 12, 1997


Staff Writer

The controversial Trails of Little Antietam housing development just outside Keedysville has cleared another hurdle.

With a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Washington County Commissioners conditionally approved the extension of a water and sewer service designation to the proposed development off Dogstreet Road.

Developer Victor Peeke's plans to put 35 houses in Keedysville and 66 outside the town limits has sparked opposition from area residents concerned about the burden on water and sewer systems, roads and schools.

The commissioners agreed to change the designation of the property from no water and sewer service to planned water and sewer service. The approval was contingent on an agreement by water and sewer service providers to make service available to the development.


Commissioner R. Lee Downey made the motion to approve the change, and said that it made sense to have development occur near the towns and near existing water and sewer facilities.

Downey said that if this development were to be held up, other developments likely would spring up farther from the town and eat up more farmland.

Commissioner James R. Wade voted against the approval.

The commissioners only voted on the 65.3 acres outside the town limits. The approval was necessary because the Maryland Department of the Environment ruled that the development could not be built using wells and septic tanks.

Wade noted that without the state's ruling, the development would not fit into the county's comprehensive plan. The development is not in an urban growth area.

"The MDE painted the county into a corner," County Attorney Richard W. Douglas said after the meeting.

Douglas said if the county didn't grant the conditional approval, it might be considered a "confiscatory taking" because Peeke would have no way to develop the property, in which case the county would have to compensate Peeke.

Keedysville Mayor Ralph Taylor said the development outside the town limits has a long way to go before becoming reality.

Taylor said the town charter would have to be changed in order to provide water service outside the town limits. Alternately, Peeke's property could be annexed. Peeke hasn't asked for water service or for annexation yet, Taylor said.

Taylor said the matter of the proposed 35-acre development inside the town limits is before the town's newly created planning commission.

"I don't know what will happen," Taylor said.

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