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Proposed annexations could double Boonsboro's size

November 30, 1999|By KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO ? No matter how Boonsboro Town Council members proceed with proposals that could nearly double the town's area, some residents said they already feel crowded by development.

"This is the area where I grew up, and I would like to see it stay that way for my children and my grandchildren, with the creeks and the streams and the woods where I played," said Cory Niswander, 39. "I can't stand the way it's growing up."

Town officials said Wednesday pending annexations could give the town leverage in dealing with developers. The council will consider six annexations covering more than 813 acres at a public hearing Monday at 7 p.m. at Boonsboro Middle School.

At a meeting introducing six of the annexations, Mayor Charles "Skip" F. Kauffman Jr. said state law changes that go into effect next year will limit towns' control over annexations, giving more power in the process to the counties. A seventh annexation already has been considered at public hearing.

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No annexations will be granted without a development agreement, Town Manager Debra Smith said.

"If it's in town, at least we can say, 'You will pay your way,'" Smith said. If the town does not annex properties, it has no way to require developers to fund upgrades to infrastructure, she said.

The mother of a second-grader and grandmother of a fourth-grader, Margaret Baldwin said she worries most about school overcrowding.

"They need to do something with the schools," said Baldwin, who lives outside town. "Give them five years to do something with the schools because they keep adding more development."

One of the proposed annexations would include 15 acres for a new school, Smith said.

If developers want to build in town, they are limited to just 1,640 new sewer taps, Town Planner Derek S. Meyers said. The town needs to find funding for a new $13 million wastewater treatment plant, which is required by the Maryland Department of the Environment, Meyers said.

"If the developers don't come, the taxpayers pay for it, I think that's a fair statement," Meyers said.

For every new housing unit, the town collects $11,000 in sewer-tapping fees and $6,500 in water-connection fees, Smith said. The water fees go toward the town's costs in providing the service; some of the sewer fees will go toward the plant, she said.

The town also would get 30 percent of the excise tax collected within its borders, Smith said.

The council will consider all infrastructure needs ? not just the sewer-tap restrictions ? in deciding whether to allow developers to build in town, Smith said.

Smith said she does not know how the sewer taps ultimately will be divvied up, or how many homes might be built on the properties being considered for annexation.

Niswander said she moved just outside of town to get away from the development of the area around North Main Street, where she had lived.

"I'm not for any more development in this area," she said.

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