Council puts annexation plans on hold

June 23, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

The Hagerstown City Council put three land annexation proposals on hold Tuesday night after a number of neighbors raised questions over two proposals and disagreements remained over the third.

The City Council was set during its Tuesday voting session to vote on the three proposals that would have drawn nearly 100 acres into city limits.

Two related proposals, the so-called Light property and Crumrine property annexations, met opposition from neighbors living along Jefferson Boulevard who worried about added traffic, environmental impact and damage to their property by development.


"It could mean oil tanks, it could mean gas tanks, it could mean anything," Jefferson Boulevard resident Sally Hatch said of the Light Property annexation.

The Light Property annexation consists of 29.3 acres. The property owners have asked that the land-use rules be changed to allow for moderate-impact commercial use of the property, or a C2 zoning designation. It now is zoned for residential use.

Jason Divelbiss, a local attorney representing the Light Property owners, said that the land owners haven't solidified how the property would be used, but hope to divvy it up and sell it piece by piece to prospective buyers.

Thomas Evans, who also lives on Jefferson Boulevard near the Light Property, said traffic was his concern.

"My biggest concern would be basically the traffic in the area by further development," Evans said. "Traffic is absolutely horrible."

The Crumrine property is owned by Gilbert Crumrine and his wife, Mary Crumrine. The 18.4-acre property is subject to the city's annexation policy because it has connected to the city's water and sewer system. It is next to the Light Property.

Gilbert Crumrine spoke before the council and questioned the need to annex his property.

"I wonder if the city is taking the correct action," Crumrine said. He said there is only his house on the land, and thought it would be costly for the city to provide services such as trash pickup and police.

After hearing the opposition, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he couldn't vote in favor of the Light Property annexation. When the council supported him in tabling the measure, that effectively forced the council to table the Crumrine annexation.

The third proposal is known as the Haven Road annexation. The written agreement that the council would have voted on was in dispute by the land developer, City Attorney John Urner said.

The Haven Road annexation would draw in 52 acres, and include about 376 homes under the version presented Tuesday. The agreement has drawn criticism from neighbors, but only one section is unsettled between the city and land developer, Kenneth Jordan.

The unexpected moves led one councilman to warn at least one other land developer to pay more attention to neighbor concerns.

"Get together quick," Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said, in reference to a fourth annexation proposal that was voted on Tuesday night.

That proposal would annex 30.2 acres for commercial use in the city's North End near the intersection of Potomac Avenue and Eastern Boulevard, across the street from Long Meadow Shopping Center.

That annexation proposal, brought by Faison Enterprises Inc. of Bethesda, Md., could allow for a commercial shopping center. The land is vacant agricultural land, according to city documents.

The council voted 5-0 in favor of introducing the Faison proposal, but it cannot take effect until after a second vote to approve the annexation. That vote is scheduled for August.

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