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Effort to fix missed annexation expedited

hearing set for Monday

April 03, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • This property off Harpers Ferry Road was approved for annexation by the Town of Sharpsburg in 1997, but was never formally annexed.
This property off Harpers Ferry Road was approved for annexation by the Town of Sharpsburg in 1997, but was never formally annexed.

SHARPSBURG — For 14 years, the owners of 5142 Harpers Ferry Road have thought they lived in Sharpsburg.

They paid town taxes. They received town services. Maps showed their triangular lot just south of High Street as being inside the town boundary.

But when surveyors attempted to verify the lot’s in-town status, they made a surprising discovery.

“It was a property that was approved for annexation by the town back in 1997, but through an administrative error, the property was never formally annexed,” Washington County Planning Director Michael C. Thompson said recently.

Surveyors Frederick, Seibert & Associates were resurveying and marking the town’s boundaries when they discovered the discrepancy, Sharpsburg Town Attorney Brian A. Kane said.

“They contacted the Maryland Legislative Services and the archives, and failed to find anywhere, unfortunately, the annexation resolutions that were passed at the time or any of the documents” recording the annexation, Kane said.

Now, the Sharpsburg Town Council is taking the 0.54-acre property through the annexation process again in hopes that this time it will end up on the books, Thompson said.

Thompson and Kane took the matter before the Washington County Commissioners in late March to request “express approval” from the commissioners for the town to rezone the property to its “town residential” designation upon annexation. Technically, the property is now under the county’s “preservation” zoning designation, Thompson said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to grant that approval.

No change in use is proposed for the land, Kane said.

The property is the principal residence of owner Scott Bussard, who bought it in 2000 from Kimberly C. Holdsworth, Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records show.

A public hearing on the annexation is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at Sharpsburg Town Hall.

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