(10/4) Emmitsburg Mayor Jim Hoover has
asked the Emmitsburg Ethics Commission for an opinion on whether an
investigation needs to be opened concerning a member of the Emmitsburg Planning
and Zoning Commission.
“The issue was brought to my attention and
I’m looking into the matter,” Hoover said. “I definitely have some concerns
During the Sept. 19 planning and zoning
workshop, consultant Chris Jakubiak made some recommendations to the commission
about properties that should or shouldn’t be annexed into the town based on the
town’s water capacity.
Some of recommendations concerned bringing
in properties to the southwest of town, which could potentially use up much of
the available water capacity.
During the ensuing discussion, Planning
Commissioner Patrick Boyle made arguments against the recommendation.
“This is personal, I mean I can’t see
taking [properties for annexation] off the books to satisfy Mount St. Mary’s,”
Boyle said during the meeting.
However, he failed to note that he is the
part owner of the Silver Fancy Farm, one of the potential properties for
annexation that Jakubiak didn’t recommend for annexation.
“[Jakubiak’s] saying we have enough water
for southwest and northeast but we don’t have enough for anyplace else,” Boyle
If the Silver Fancy Farm is annexed into
town it would be able to be developed with more homes than it could be now. The
town’s ethics ordinance does not allow for town officials to use the power of
their office for personal gain.
Boyle said he did nothing wrong. “I know
right from wrong on that subject.”
He said he recuses himself from any votes
having to do with that property. During the Sept. 19 workshop, however, he said
he wouldn’t be able to vote on the recommendations because he didn’t have
enough information from Jakubiak not because he is a part owner of a property
Boyle also announced at his first meeting
as a commissioner that he owned property. He made a similar declaration on
Sept. 24 because there was a new member on the commission, according to Boyle.
Earlier in the summer, Boyle complained
when former Planning Commissioner Catherine Forrence was in a similar
situation. She recommended shifting development on a parcel that abutted her
mother’s property away from the shared border without acknowledging the
property was owned by her mother. Boyle said during the meeting that she was
making the recommendation to benefit her mother.
Once the ethics commission meets, they
will decide whether an investigation needs to be initiated. Hoover pointed out
that he had not made an ethics complaint against Boyle because he hasn’t seen
the meeting in question. He is requesting an opinion because more than one
person has made mention of the possible conflict to him.
“The ball’s in their court now,” Hoover
said. “Neither the town staff nor I are going to file an official complaint.”
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