Residents voted against annexing another 20 acres into
town limits, temporarily stalling a plan for about 50 homes just off Irishtown
referendum was held Tuesday and resulted in 159 votes against the
annexation and 112 votes in favor.
Catherine Forrence, president of Citizens Organization
to Protect Emmitsburg, credited her group’s membership Wednesday with victory
against the move.
Hoover, believe that the development could still come and bring more
traffic and more children in schools without the benefits of a larger
assessable tax base.
A similar fate is being
played out with the Silver Fancy Farm development, Mr. Hoover said
Wednesday. Plans are now going through the county, following an annexation
failure after a similar fight from COPE.
Property owner Josh Bollinger would have contributed
$75,000 toward much-needed sewer system repairs as well as improvements to and
widening of Irishtown Road as part of the Bollinger family’s proposed
annexation agreement with the town.
Now the town’s leaders can only wait to see if Mr.
Bollinger will re-submit an application for annexation.
Still, COPE’s members are happy with Tuesday’s results.
Ms. Forrence said Wednesday that COPE worked diligently
from February until the day of the vote to rally support against the
annexation, gathering signatures on petitions and getting voters to the polls.
"I think this means the (town’s) commissioners are
hearing what the residents truly want for the town," Ms. Forrence said.
"Emmitsburg is fortunate to have COPE organizing and doing the leg work,
collecting signatures. ... Hopefully, with the
growth moratorium in place, perhaps this election will have some effect
on speculative development in Emmitsburg."
She said Tuesday’s vote was a "huge victory" for COPE
and the town.
On the other side of the spectrum, Mr. Hoover said the
town is now likely to lose out on collecting needed funds.
"I’m not surprised about the outcome," Mr. Hoover said,
"but I’m concerned about the outcome. A lot of people don’t realize what they
may have voted for or against. I don’t believe that people are understanding
that the annexation doesn’t necessarily mean development.
"The property owner wasn’t guaranteed the right to
build," he continued. "An annexation application is still subject to current
and future planning and zoning ordinances within the town and still must be
reviewed and approved by the planning and zoning commission. ... I’m concerned
if we continue to reject annexation requests within our growth limits. The
county may feel a lot of pressure to allow development within our growth limits
with packaged storm water treatment plants. We certainly don’t want to end up
with the county or privately owned treatment plants surrounding our border."
"My concern is that it will end up like the Silver
Fancy Farm and, without annexation, they’ll seek other alternatives," he said.
"The proposed developer of that land (Silver Fancy Farm) is seeking support or
approval from the county to go ahead and develop that land. If that’s granted,
the town is really at a huge disadvantage."
Mr. Bollinger could not be reached on Wednesday for
comment. What will happen next with the parcel is, ultimately, up to him.
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