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Vote sought on Keedysville annexation

January 05, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

KEEDYSVILLE - Registered voters in the town of Keedysville might have a chance to vote on the annexation of 91.8 acres of land that was approved by the Town Council last November.

A referendum on the council's annexation decision would be held if a petition presented by resident Tom Clemens during a Monday night Town Council meeting contains enough valid signatures.

The petition contained 67 signatures.

There are 318 registered voters in Keedysville, which has about 500 residents. In order to force a referendum, the petition must contain signatures of 20 percent of the town's registered voters.

The Council approved the annexation on Nov. 16, 1998, following a public hearing at which about 30 residents asked questions and voiced concerns about traffic patterns on Dogstreet, increased population and changes in the small-town atmosphere.

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Councilwoman Yvonne Hope cast the only dissenting vote.

Calling the annexation, "probably the largest change to affect the town in several decades," Clemens' petition asked that the citizens of the town be given the opportunity to express their approval or disapproval of the step.

"Signing this petition does not in any way commit the signers to any position for or against the annexation, merely that it should be put to a referendum of the registered voters of the town," the petition said.

A public meeting to discuss the annexation has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the old elementary school on Mount Vernon Lane, Clemens said.

The annexation involves the property of three landowners, Victor Peeke, John Burtner and Paul Williams.

Peeke, who 53 acres south of town, said he will attend the public meeting. Peeke intends to build a 69-home subdivision on an 109-acre parcel, which was approved by the county.

The developer asked for the annexation because he wanted the development to be within one jurisdiction. A portion of his land is in the town and another is in Washington County.

Burtner owns 14.9 acres south of Wyand Drive and Williams owns two parcels, one 8.8 acres, and the other 14.4 acres, east of the city limits, adjacent to Wyand Drive.

Keedysville's attorneys, Kuczynski & Kuczynski of Hagerstown, must determine whether the petition contains enough valid signatures. If so, Mayor Lee Brandenberg will issue a proclamation suspending the annexation resolution until the referendum is held.

After that, he will select a date for the referendum and the vote will be held.

If the vote is favorable, the annexation will take effect 14 days after the referendum.

If the annexation is turned down, no further steps will be taken.

During the meeting, the mayor presented council members with a letter outlining what he feels are the positive affects of annexation, including an increased tax base and fees from building permits.

He said the town will maintain control over streets, layout and construction of development, and that water and sewer lines will be extended at no cost to the town.

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