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Council tables annexaton proposals

July 27, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Four proposals that would have added land to Hagerstown city limits were put on hold for at least another month by the City Council on Tuesday night.

"It just gives more time," said Sally Hatch after the council's voting session. Hatch lives along Jefferson Boulevard outside city limits and opposes development of one of the pieces of land in question.

The four annexation proposals would add a total of about 100 acres to city limits.

A proposal along Haven Road would add 52 acres in the city's North End; two linked proposals in the southeastern corner between Jefferson and Eastern boulevards would add nearly 48 acres; and the fourth proposal would add .371 acre along Eastern Boulevard, south of Dual Highway.

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The linked proposals off Jefferson Boulevard are known as the 29.3-acre Light property and the 18.4-acre Crumrine property annexations. The Light property is proposed to be developed into commercial use.

Under city policy, because the two share a property line, and a house on the Crumrine property is connected to the city's water and sewer system, the Crumrine property also must undergo the city's annexation procedures. There are no plans to develop the Crumrine property beyond the existing single-family home.

While the council already voted unanimously to table - or postpone until further notice - the Light and Crumrine proposals, some spoke out against the Light proposal during a public comment session after the City Council's Tuesday voting session.

"A developer's plan should fit the land. The land should not be redeveloped to fit the developer's plan," Hatch said during the comment session.

Hatch and her husband, Bob Hatch, said after the meeting that they have multiple concerns about the development plans for the land, including traffic problems and environmental concerns. They said they also were concerned that because they don't live in the city, they could be deprived a say in future matters if the land joins the city.

Shirley Weisbecker, who also lives on Jefferson Boulevard near the Light property, said she that while she hasn't had a problem in the 37 years she has lived there, she was concerned that development on the land could cause flooding in her yard. "We want to continue to live comfortably," she said.

Jason Divelbiss, the attorney representing the Light property owners, told the council that he and the property owners have been working with the neighbors.

"We are not ignoring the concerns that are being expressed," Divelbiss said. He said the developer has offered to maintain a 40-foot forested buffer, as well as limit the height of some buildings on the property to less than allowed by land-use regulations.

The Haven Road annexation proposal faced vocal opposition at a public hearing earlier this year and has undergone several changes since then. The council indicated last week it would table the proposal for a third time this month because of problems with the county's adequate public facilities ordinance.

A public hearing on the Green annexation along Eastern Boulevard was postponed, and the annexation proposal was tabled after a recommendation from City Comprehensive Planner Stuart Bass. Bass said there were some legal concerns over the annexation, but declined to comment further.

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