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Annexation policy discussed

August 14, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday briefly discussed the planned implementation of a new city annexation policy that will require property along the city's borders to be annexed before city water and sewer service will be extended to the area.

The annexation policy, unanimously adopted by the council on May 28, is effective Sept. 1.

The policy calls for the creation of an Annexation Review Committee, which will establish procedures and rule on property owners' requests for exceptions to the policy, Interim Planning Director Deborah Everhart told the council Tuesday.

Committee decisions can be appealed to the council, she said.

Council members said they agreed with a staff proposal to have the committee, at least initially, consist of managers from the Water Department, Water Pollution Control and Planning as well as one member each of the Hagerstown City Council and Hagerstown Planning Commission.

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Everhart is to present more information about the planned policy procedures during the council's Aug. 20 meeting.

Annexations will be limited to land within the Hagerstown urban growth area unless the annexation is suggested by the Washington County Commissioners.

Opponents of the policy, including Mayor William Breichner, have said the policy could hurt development. Breichner has said he favors annexation, but disagrees with using water and sewer service to bring it about.

City Council members have said the policy is important for the city because it will lead to more annexations. Annexations and redevelopment within the city can long-term help solve the city's financial problems, the said.

Annexations extend the city's boundaries, resulting in more taxable property.

Under the policy, A property owner requesting city water and sewer service but whose property is not along the city line would have to agree to annexation whenever that property becomes contiguous to the city.

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