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Smithsburg meeting draws Sharpsburg residents

Proposed weed-control law would not allow conditions at Mondell Road property

Proposed weed-control law would not allow conditions at Mondell Road property

June 16, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

SMITHSBURG -- The Washington County Commissioners went to Smithsburg Tuesday night to allow town officials and Smithsburg residents to talk about issues of interest to them.

But much of the meeting at Smithsburg's Town Hall didn't have anything to do with Smithsburg.

Most of the discussion was taken up by Sharpsburg-area residents complaining about a property owner on Mondell Road who has allowed grass to grow up on his land as part of a nature study area.

Last year, grass on the property reached about 7 feet high.

The grass had to be cut last year when a program connected with the establishment of the nature study area lapsed, County Administrator Greg Murray said Tuesday night.

About five people had a lengthy conversation with the commissioners about the property Tuesday night and they complained that the site has hurt values of surrounding properties, among other problems it has caused.

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Patricia McNamee complained about mosquitoes from the grass and other problems like mice.

Robyn James complained about poison ivy and thistle spreading up her fence.

"Why don't you all do something about this?" McNamee said.

Murray told the residents that the county commission is considering a new weed-control law. The conditions at the Mondell Road property would not be allowed under the proposed new law because of the buffer requirements in the proposal, Murray said.

Murray said property owners can be cited for allowing the growth of noxious weeds and said he can have someone check the Mondell Road property for such weeds.

Commissioner Kristen B. Aleshire said whatever action was taken last year with the property is the same action that should be taken this year.

County Commissioner Terry Baker suggested that the residents forward their comments to him as the commissioners consider the new weed-control law.

In a separate issue, Smithsburg Town Council member Jerome Martin said he thinks the county should partner with neighboring counties on recycling. Martin also talked about construction of a "single-stream" recycling facility.

In single-stream recycling, people dispose of all recyclable materials together. Not having to separate them has increased participation in recycling programs by about 15 percent, said Murray, who agreed that a single-stream recycling facility is needed.

Murray also said there are trash haulers moving through the county all the time, and sometimes their trucks are empty as they are completing routes. Murray suggested entering into agreements with the haulers so the trucks could be used to pick up recyclables in the county.

The haulers could pick up some extra revenue through the agreements and the county could save on the cost of having a hauler traveling into the county to pick up recyclables, Murray said.

Martin also complained about an approximate $13,000 bill for the Smithsburg branch of the Washington County Free Library that came three years after the library was finished.

Martin said town officials never received a reasonable explanation for the bill.

Murray said he would check into the situation.

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