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Keedysville referendum in hands of mayor

January 20, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

KEEDYSVILLE - The fate of a referendum on the annexation of 91.8 acres of land into the town of Keedysville is in the hands of Mayor Lee Brandenberg.

The mayor said Wednesday that some signatures on a petition requesting the referendum were invalid and that the document did not certify that signatures had been witnessed by a designated person.

"The petition is not legal ... now the choice is mine to allow it or not to allow it," he said.

An informal town meeting Wednesday, was called to discuss the annexation, which was approved by the Town Council on Nov. 16. About 27 Keedysville residents, council members, William R. Atkinson of the Maryland Office of Planning in Cumberland, Md., attended.

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Brandenberg said one of the signatures on the petition was not that of a registered voter and two people had signed in the wrong place. Other signatures were suspect, he said.

Brandenberg said it is up to him to decide whether the annexation question will go to the town's 318 registered voters.

To force a referendum, a petition must contain valid signatures of 20 percent of the town's registered voters. The petition, which was started by Tom Clemens, contained 67 signatures. Sixty-four valid signatures were needed to force the referendum.

Residents asked questions about traffic patterns on Dogstreet, increased population and how much zoning control the town would have over the property.

Atkinson provided the crowd with pros and cons of annexation.

He said if the annexation goes through, the town's tax base would increase, it would collect additional water and sewer fees, and the developer would build roads.

On the other hand, he said, maintenance costs for water and sewer lines would increase.

Added tax revenue from new residents likely would pay for those maintenance costs, he said.

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

Peeke, who owns 53 acres south of town wants to build a 69-home subdivision on a 109-acre parcel of land which lies in both Keedysville and Washington County.

He said he wants the annexation so the development will be within one jurisdiction.

Peeke said he would build hiking trails on his property currently outside the town and a park on land in the town.

Annexation would combine the land and prevent a potential homeowner's association from barring the town's residents from using the recreational facilities.

"I'm trying to create harmony," said Peeke.

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.

Following the meeting, Brandenberg, said he is unsure what he will do and when he will announce his decision.

If he allows the vote and it is favorable, the annexation would take effect within 14 days.

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