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Developer might change his plans rather than wait

November 20, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - A mobile home park could be coming to an area just outside of Boonsboro's town limits after a land developer claimed town officials reneged on a plan for annexation.

Monument Gateway could accommodate 80 to 90 homes, developer Todd Easterday said Sunday. Boonsboro Town Manager Debbie Smith dismissed a roadside advertisement for the park as "a sign to show his displeasure."

As of late last week, no plans had been submitted for the property near Alt. U.S. 40 and Md. 67, said Mike Thompson, Washington County's director of planning.

On Sunday, Easterday said town officials failed to live up to a promise to give him water and sewer services on the land southeast of Boonsboro. According to Easterday, his family sold the Warrenfeltz hardware store on North Main Street to the town with the understanding that the town would agree to annex and extend services to the Alt. U.S. 40 property.

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"We do very much want to have the property annexed into the town just as we and the town officials agreed to 3 1/2 years ago," Easterday said.

The Herald-Mail reported in March 2004 that the Maryland Board of Public Works would give the town a $310,000 interest-free, 20-year loan to buy the store.

Easterday called the store's price "chump change." He said the original plan called for building a new hardware store and a community for adults ages 55 and older. Without water and sewer taps, Easterday said he cannot move forward with that idea.

When asked whether the town ever agreed to the plan, Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman said only that the town is trying to work with all developers. Beside Easterday's annexation, the town is considering seven other requests covering more than 800 acres.

"I would love to see them have a development out there with their hardware store or a gas station or whatever. I would love to see them have it, but they have to work with the town," Kauffman said.

Easterday said he did not withdraw the application, but he does not want to wait any longer to build on the land. He declined to say how much the property is worth.

"Bottom line is I'm a businessman. I need to start using the property for something," Easterday said.

Smith and Town Planner Derek Meyers said last week that Easterday withdrew his application.

Sondra Shaffer, who opposed the original request, said she still does not want to see the property, which is near historic sites, developed.

"It isn't because I have anything against mobile homes. It's because I have everything against the inappropriate use of that land," Shaffer said. She called the property "hallowed ground."

Though Easterday said he showed the town his plans for the property, Smith said he never clarified his intentions or applied for permits.

"So, anything that's occurring there I would assume is on a retaliatory basis," Smith said.

According to Meyers, Town Council introduced Easterday's original annexation request in 2004. According to the request, which covered 94 acres, all but 17 acres of the land would have been residential, Meyers said.

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