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Residents weigh in on annexation

October 21, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Two speakers at a Boonsboro Town Council public hearing on a family's request to annex its 96-acre farm east of Boonsboro into the town expressed concern the property would damage the environment.

The speakers said they were adjacent landowners.

John Urner, a Hagerstown attorney, said the Easterday family is requesting the annexation so the family can better develop the property in concert with the town.

While more than 50 people attended the hearing at the Boonsboro Community Center, only four people not affiliated with the town or the family spoke, Town Manager John Kendall said Wednesday. Written comments will be accepted for 10 days, Kendall said.

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The property has sparked some controversy after property owner Todd Easterday asked for a demolition permit to raze a historic house at 6633 Old National Pike, which is part of the farmland possibly being annexed.

The house has not been demolished, Easterday said Wednesday.

After two people spoke in favor of the annexation, Paul Ryberg asked the council to keep in mind concern that was expressed by the Washington County Planning Commission that the region under consideration for annexation has environmental sensitivity and scenic importance. Ryberg said he owns property to the east of the area being annexed.

Under the requested annexation, 44.6 acres would be zoned town residential/suburban residential, 26.1 acres would be zoned multifamily residential, 17.3 acres would be zoned general commercial and 8.1 acres would be zoned multifamily residential, town documents said.

Sondra Shaffer, who said she has 18 acres that border a part of the Easterday property, said the view of South Mountain and the Washington Monument would be damaged if the Easterday property is developed.

Shaffer asked, "How much do you want to give up of beauty? How much do you want to give up of conservation? How much do you want to give up of wildlife habitat?"

She is concerned that wetlands and creeks will be damaged, she said.

"I will fight you every step of the way. If you want to run me over with a bulldozer, go ahead," she said.

Todd Easterday said the family has engineers working to ensure the project has a minimal impact on the environment.

Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman said it will be a few months before the annexation request will come to the Boonsboro Town Council for discussion and a vote.

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