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Annexation hearing set for next month

August 08, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

SMITHSBURG - The town of Smithsburg will hold a public hearing next month on a request to annex 63 acres, although a motion to proceed was at first rejected Tuesday.

Cloverly Hills LLC previously proposed building 71 single-family homes on the land, which is near the corner of Md. 64 and Md. 77.

The town's planning commission has recommended that the town approve the annexation, Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Thomas B. Smith made a motion to introduce a resolution for the annexation. Then, three of the five council members voted no - including Smith.

But after hearing that the resolution would simply allow a public hearing to be held on the request, Councilman Tom Chiarizia, who had voted no, asked for another vote.

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Myers asked Smith if he'd withdraw his motion and asked Councilwoman Shirley Aurand if she'd withdraw her second. Both did.

Then, Smith made the same motion again, Aurand seconded it and the council voted again.

This time, Chiarizia, Aurand and Councilman Dennis "Jack" Wenthe voted in favor, while Smith and Councilman Jerome Martin voted no.

Myers said later that the town had already committed to holding the public hearing, so the resolution was needed.

At last month's town council work session, the three council members present - Aurand, Chiarizia and Wenthe - agreed to go ahead with a public hearing on the request, according to the minutes.

Charles F. Wagaman Jr., the town's attorney, said after Tuesday's meeting that an applicant who requests an annexation is legally entitled to a hearing.

The Cloverly hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

Martin said during the meeting that he doesn't accept the premise that the land is contiguous to the town and therefore eligible for annexation.

Wagaman explained later that the company that wants to build houses on about 56 acres. The rest of the land in the annexation request is a road that belongs to the state.

The road is the only portion of the annexation request that borders the town.

Wagaman said it's legal for an applicant to ask the town to annex someone else's land.

He said the State Highway Administration, which owns the land the road is on, has been informed of the request and would have no preference about the annexation.

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