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Annexation request considered

October 06, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The Smithsburg Town Council began weighing a formal annexation request from a Frederick, Md.-based company that could pave the way for dozens of new houses at a property southeast of the town.

Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said the issue will be deliberated over a long period of time because of experience with past development.

According to a letter dated Sept. 17, Cross and Company LLC formally requested that land be annexed into the town for the purpose of creating a new housing subdivision. The development would include 71 single-family home sites in the area near Md. 64 and Md. 77, off Cloverly Farm Lane, according to a letter signed by Daniel C. Cross, the company's president and broker.

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Hagerstown-based attorney Roger Schlossberg, who attended the meeting with Cross, said the request was the beginning of a lengthy process.

Schlossberg said he believes the company will not pursue the project unless it has support from the surrounding community.

Myers said the council has several concerns about annexing any property into the town, including the fact that the local sewer plant is operating at capacity, there are limitations to the amount of water that can be provided by the town and the populations at Smithsburg's schools.

She said discussions about the request would continue for a long time because there are no "quick fixes" for problems that could be created. Myers said the council has to be careful to make sure there will be no direct financial impact on existing residents if the property is annexed.

"We're not against growth. We just need to control it so we don't make things worse for our current population," Myers said. "That is the bottom line."

Both Myers and Councilman Jerome Martin said Tuesday that, while the Cross request for annexation is the only one that has been submitted, other requests are in the works.

Martin said another issue is whether any part of the development's property is along a border of the town.

"I still think the developer needs to prove the land is contiguous," he said.

Martin declined to comment on his initial opinion of the annexation request.

In September 2003, Martin was among council members who spoke out against an informal annexation request from a resident on Cave Hill Road. Martin said additional residences in the Smithsburg area likely would translate into an increase in crime, and would increase demands on schools and other resources.

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