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Emmitsburg Residents Speak Out
 Against Proposed Development

Susan C. Nicol
Frederick News Post

(2003) Emmitsburg Residents who say they want to protect their small community from development turned out in large numbers at a town commission meeting Monday night to oppose a proposed annexation.

The Boyle family wants to annex 66 acres into the town. Forty-four acres would be for low density residential development 12 acres for medium density development and 1.5 acres for general business. Another 8.5 acres would be preserved as open space.

Ed Smariga, owner of buckeye development, wants to Build 50 single family homes and 75 townhouses. He told the crowd that he has developed 10 residential subdivisions and two office condos previously.

Mr. Smariga said he knows the people donít like the like townhouses, but said the state's Smart Growth plan requires them. He also promised they would over a hill in an effort to shield them from town residents. The Boyle property is currently zoned low density by the county, said Jim Gugel, county planner.

Resident after resident urged the town commissioners to take a second look at the project citing the drought and uncertain water capacity. After a 90-minute hearing during which the majority opposed the development Mr. Smariga asked the commissioners to postpone a decision on the proposal. They agreed, and set another meeting for Aug. 29.

Amy Phillips started her speech by saying she was going to be emotional. She said she and her husband moved to Emmitsburg from Middletown because "it was totally ruined by developers.

Ms. Phillips said she is against the negative impact the proposed development will bring, adding that the people who would buy the homes would not want to associate with the natives.

Lisa Elder, of Silver Spring, who said it's her hope to move to Emmitsburg in the future, also opposed the annexation, saying there are too many questions about the water supply

Another opponent Gen Blanchard, reminded the commissioners that Emmitsburg is on the National Register of Historic Places, and needs to be protected. He said the land could be turned into a farm museum such as the one in Carroll County. Mr. Blanchard said the town could benefit from the tourists who go through Emmitsburg on their way to Gettysburg.

Jim Welty warned the town that the developer was painting, a "glossy picture, and would be taking the money and leaving.

Sabrina Paxton-Taily, who moved into Northgate just 15 months ago listed the reasons she loves her new town. She said the people at the bank give her terrier a treat, business people know her name and give her son candy, and the man at the hardware store cares "or at least pre tends to" care about her problem with groundhogs.

Danny Reaver, owner of Emmitsburg Glass, was the only person who spoke in favor of the development. He said people may give the town more respect in the county, and would possibly bring in move businesses.

Susie Glass said she wasnít opposed to the annexation, but doesnít want any townhouses built. She referred to them as "slum."

About 50 people turned out for the meeting, which was moved from the tiny town hall to the Sleep Inn. But the crowd still spilled out into the hallway.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government