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City drops demand to annex property

Hagerstown will not require an agreement for annexation in exchange for water service at Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technolog

Hagerstown will not require an agreement for annexation in exchange for water service at Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technolog

December 10, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown committee Monday decided the city will not require Allegheny Energy to agree to future annexation in exchange for a request for city water service, removing a possible hurdle for the company's business park.

Some officials were concerned a dispute between Washington County and the City of Hagerstown over the city's new water and sewer annexation policy might cause the first potential client of Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technology Park to back out of the deal.

Last week former Washington County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said the closing of the deal to locate an international satellite company at the park hinges upon whether the city will require Allegheny Energy to sign an annexation agreement with the city to receive water service.

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After Monday's meeting of the Hagerstown Annexation Review Committee, Iseminger and an Allegheny spokesman said the committee's actions should fix that problem and the project can proceed.

Iseminger was part of the County Commission that approved a new zoning designation that paved the way for Intelsat Global Service Corp. to open a subsidiary called Mountainside Teleport Corp. at the technology park.

In a letter dated Nov. 6, David Shindle, manager of the city's water pollution control department, sent what he called a "form letter" asking Allegheny Energy to fill out an application for requested water service at property east of Md. 632 and north of Rench Road.

In response, an Allegheny Energy official said the city's annexation policy does not apply to the company because the city is legally obligated to provide water service to the property under a June 29, 1966, agreement. The agreement does not require an annexation.

At the recommendation of City Attorney John Urner, city committee members agreed to waive the annexation requirement for Allegheny because of the agreement.

Last week Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner and Richard Reichenbaugh, a consultant for the project, said city staff members told Allegheny Energy it would have to agree to annex the property into the city to receive water service.

Other city officials denied that was the case, saying that decision would be made by the Annexation Review Committee.

Intelsat Global Service in Washington, D.C., has an agreement-in-principle to buy land at the site to build ground support for its satellite network. It would employ 50 people, officials have said.

Intelsat provides global communications for telecommunications carriers, broadcasters, global finance companies and other corporations that do business around the world. It has customers in 200 counties and territories.

The disputed policy requires property along the city's borders to be annexed before city water and sewer service are extended to the area.

Owners of property that does not border the city would have to agree to future annexation before receiving city water and sewer service. That annexation would come once their property became contiguous to city land.

Iseminger had said he hoped uncertainty over whether an annexation agreement would be required wouldn't cause Intelsat to decide against locating in Washington County. If the annexation was required, the business eventually might have had to pay both city and county taxes, he said.

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