January 21, 2005
In light of the comments made by the County in the January 21st newspaper articles in the Baltimore Sun and the Carroll County Times[i], it would be to our mutual advantage to further review the record and documentation pertaining to the development in the year 2002.
The Hoff-Naganna development was forced upon the City by the actions of County Staff and the Carroll County Panning and Zoning Commission (CCP&Z) in a series of concerted actions in 2002. What is particular troubling and egregious about the County’s actions in 2002, is that this all occurred in the context of one of the worse droughts in Westminster history.
Now, to add insult to injury, the County expresses its dismay in the press about a development that the County forced upon the municipality. A development that the City did not want and will constitute a pronounced strain on our ability to provide adequate public services.
Pertinent details of the Hoff Naganna Farm Development. The site is 146 acres in three different zoning classifications. 117 acres is R-10,000, 7.45 acres is R-20,000 and 21.4 acres is Conservation. The site is in W-1 and W-3 for water and S-1, S-3 (formerly S-5 and S-7) for sewer. The number of units is 300 - 350 units. This would involve about 100,000 gpd for water at full build-out.
Where is the 100,000 gpd for water at full build-out, going to come from?
Current Zoning: The property is currently zoned R-10,000 Residential, R-20,000 Residential and C Conservation Zone - - (so no waiver of Zoning will be required from the County under Article 23A, Section 9?). What this means is that this development will go forward, whether or not it is in the Westminster city Limits, whether or not it is annexed by the City of Westminster. The County cannot easily block either annexation or development.
The development is not consistent with our 1998 Comprehensive Plan. The development represents a strain on the municipalities ability to provide future water and sewer service, and it’s lack of continuity would constitute a strain on future ability to provide fire and EMS, police, and public works administration.
I personally have no interest in annexations for residential development unless, the residential development is impossible to stop for reasons of property rights exercised under current law. In such a situation, I will, of course, respect the law and want to do everything possible to ensure that the residential development be in the City limits, so that Westminster may govern the impact on our community.
That stated, now that the development has been enabled, if not encouraged (read: forced upon Westminster), by the County, the municipality is the best governing body to oversee its development. It is critical that any and all development in the Westminster environs, which will impact the quality of life of our municipality, be governed by our municipality.
If the property is not annexed by the City, will the County guarantee the City a revenue stream for the purpose of finding additional water to service the development and fund the necessary fire, EMS protection?
1. Westminster tried to remove this property from the Westminster water and sewer service, in 2002 and County staff approached city staff about not removing it in its entirety in light of the January 28th, 2002 action by the Westminster Mayor and Council; but rather reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7 – 10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7” No Planned Sewer Service” to S-3 (0-6 years), which would have severely limited the development opportunity.
As I understand the position of the County Staff, the Hoff-Naganna Development would enable the County to Segment F of the Westminster Area Roadway Planning initiative, as presented to the Westminster Mayor and Council on August 27th, 2001, paid for by the developer.
1a. On December 11th, 2001, Naganwest LLC made a request to amend the Carroll County Water and Sewer Master Plan.
1b. On page 4 of the January 24th, 2002 Westminster Final Report for the Carroll County Triennial Update provided to the CCP&Z, Westminster denied the amendment request to reclassify 86 acres of the s-5 (7-10) and 10.30 acres of S-7 “No Planned Sewer Service” of the Naganna Property to S-3 (0-6 years), thereby terminating this application, as it was inconsistent with the 1998 Comprehensive Plan.
1c. At the January 28th, 2002 Westminster Common Council Meeting, Mr. Beyard presented the triennial update of the Carroll County Master Plan for Water and Sewerage. The following specific recommendations to amend the Plan were accepted, on Motion of Mrs. Albert, seconded by Mr. Ferguson and unanimously passed: “Naganna Property
Request: Reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7 – 10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7” No Planned Sewer Service” to S-3 (0-6 years).
Location: South side of Old Westminster Pike, approximately ¼ mile west of MD Route 97.
Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends denial of the amendment
request to reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7-10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7 “no Planed Sewer Service” of the Naganna Property to S-3 (0-6 years), thereby terminating this application. This proposal is inconsistent with the recommendation of the planning and Zoning Commission and the goals of the 1998 City of Westminster comprehensive Plan.”
1d. On January 30th, 2002, Ms. Moser was advised that the City denied the reclassification request as inconsistent with our 1998 Master Plan.
1e. At the June 18th, 2002, CCP&Z Meeting, Mr. Preston asked the CCP&Z to overturn the January 28th, 2002 decision of the Westminster Mayor and Common Council. Mr. Preston’s request was granted on July 16th, 2002.
1f. In a July 3rd, 2002 letter to Ms. Moser and the CCP&Z, Westminster advised the CCP&Z that under Section 2 of Carroll County Procedures for amending the CC Master Plan for Water and Sewer, if the City did not certify that the requested amendment as being consistent with the municipality’s Master plan, the request for amendment was to be denied. Westminster once again, reminded the County that Westminster denied the reclassification on January 28th, 2002.
1g. At the July 16th, 2002 meeting of the CCP&Z, the CCP&Z recommended approval of the Draft 2002 Carroll County Water And Sewerage Master Plan, accepting the December 11th, 2001 application for amending the Triennial Water and Sewer plan to include the S-3 designation for the Hoff-Naganna Farm over the objections of Westminster Staff and over-ruling the vote of the Westminster Common Council of January 28th, 2002.
2. August 29th, 2002 Two alternate petitions for annexation were filed.
2a. On December 9th, 2002, the Westminster Common Council accepted introduction of Resolution No. R02-15 and Resolution No. R02-16 – Annexations No. 48 and 51, respectively, of the Naganna property.
2b. Annexation Petition/Consent
Section 19 of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of MD deals with the Annexation procedure. Section 19(c) of Article 23A causes the petition to be introduced by resolution. An annexation petition signed by at least 25% of the qualified voters along with 25% of the owners of assessed property in the area to be annexed may be filed with the municipal legislative body.
Under subsection (d) of Section 19, Westminster government will conduct an advertised public hearing prior to any decision with respect to the proposed annexation.
(d) Notice and hearing—After the introduction of the resolution into the legislative body of the municipal corporation, the chief executive and administrative officer of the municipal corporation shall cause a public notice thereof to be published not fewer than four times at not less than weekly intervals in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the municipal corporation and the area to be annexed, briefly and accurately describing the proposed change and the conditions and circumstances applicable. The public notices shall specify a time and place at which a public hearing will be held by the legislative body on the resolution; the hearing shall be set for not less than 15 days after the fourth publication of the notices and shall be held either within the boundaries of the municipal corporation or within the area to be annexed.
The public hearing may be continued or rescheduled for a subsequent time not to exceed 30 days from the day for which the meeting was originally scheduled, or the day on which the hearing commenced but was not completed. In the event of a continuation or rescheduling, a single public notice shall be given at least seven days prior to the continued or rescheduled date in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation and in the area whose annexation is to be discussed, briefly and accurately describing the property whose annexation is to be discussed, and specifying the day, time, and place of the public hearing.
Immediately upon the first publication of the public notice, a copy of the public notice shall be provided to the governing body of the county and any regional and State planning agencies having jurisdiction within the county. Each of these agencies and jurisdictions shall have the first right to be heard at the scheduled public hearing, after which the hearing shall be open to the general public.
After conducting the required hearing, the municipal elected body may pass (or reject) the resolution which becomes effective 45 days after its passage unless it is petitioned to referendum.
Annexation Zoning—The Five-Year Rule
Cities and towns authorized to exercise and exercising planning and zoning powers under Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland have exclusive authority over planning and zoning in newly annexed areas. However, Article 23A, Section 9 of the Annotated Code (see page 21) provides that no city or town may for five years following an annexation place newly annexed land in a zoning category that permits a substantially different land use from that contained in the current county.
20050121 Commissioners likely to oppose annexation sun
Westminster: Commissioners likely to oppose annexation
300-home plan raises traffic, resource concerns
By Athima Chansanchai, Sun Staff, January 21, 2005
Carroll County commissioners said yesterday they probably would not support Westminster's plans to annex about 146 acres for a new housing development because adding up to 300 homes would drain resources and bring increased traffic to a mostly rural area.
The commissioners said that annexing the unincorporated area of the county into Westminster hinged on a questionable assumption - that a single connecting road was enough to declare the property contiguous to the city limits.
"We're talking about a significant increase in the density of the city of Westminster without being contiguous to the city of Westminster," Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said. "It's a surgical strike without touching the people on the county's side of the annexation. It's a crafty little strategy by whoever thought of it, and I object to it here, on the record."
Before the property can be annexed, the county commissioners have to approve the plan.
Westminster planning officials introduced the proposal for annexing the Hoff/Naganna property in September, but plans for the development have dragged since mid-2002.
The developers of the property, located just outside the southeast city limits, asked the city for annexation to gain access to water and sewer lines. Future homeowners would also be entitled to other city resources such as police and fire protection, as well as trash pickup.
Westminster will provide those services only to properties already within city limits or to those the city approves for annexation. The minimum requirement for an annexation is that the property be contiguous to city limits.
That's where the problem begins, county officials said.
"This annexation will look a lot like a lollipop," Steven D. Powell, county chief of staff, told the commissioners.
Powell was referring to the fact that the only thing connecting the development area to Westminster is a single street, Willow Avenue.
The proposed development is bordered by Old Westminster Pike to the north, Mark Drive to the west, Poole Road to the south and Woodside Drive to the east.
A public hearing on the annexation is scheduled for Monday night. Momentum has been building among county residents to oppose the development.
"The city is bulldozing through," said county resident Michelle Jefferson, who lives in a neighborhood adjacent to the proposed development. "There are way too many subdivisions that will be affected by this."
She gave commissioners a copy of a petition that she and more than 270 other residents have signed, opposing the annexation.
"I don't know how much can be preserved at this point. I know there's going to be growth, but 300 homes is too many to stick in there," said John Everett, a county resident who has lived on Willow Avenue with his wife for a decade. "Maybe we could live with half that amount, but still you end up with traffic, school and water problems."
He worried about the addition of up to 600 cars - two per household - because there are already too many commuters using side streets like his, he said, trying to get around congested major arteries.
Everett also wondered how nearby schools at or near capacity could accommodate the influx of children from such a development.
Westminster's planning staff maintains that the city can absorb the demand on its water resources and emergency services. Staff members said the development "will not have an adverse impact on public schools in the Westminster area."
But some city council members expressed reservations.
"Water resources were a major issue on that property. Expectations were high at first to find a major water source, but they couldn't find a well to produce enough gallons," said council President Damian L. Halstad. "With all the development today, resources become an issue - and not just natural, but also our police and fire resources and infrastructure. They're obviously going to be some difficult questions for the developer on this project. I personally think the commissioners' concerns are legitimate."
City officials estimate that up to $275,000 a year could be generated in tax revenues on the proposed development.
County residents said property taxes for city coffers would come at their expense, with the loss of their quality of life.
In meetings with Westminster's Planning and Zoning Commission, city planners said the developer was willing to pay $1.5 million to help offset the project's effect on water and sewer facilities. In planning documents, the money is called a capital utility improvements contribution.
After the public hearing, city council members will set a date to discuss the proposal and consider its adoption.
Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun
20050121 Hoff annexation challenged cctk
Hoff annexation challenged
By Greg Guenthner, Times Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 2005
County officials are asking the city of Westminster to allow time for additional comments on an annexation proposal for 146 acres near the intersection of Md. 97 South and Md. 140.
County planners raised questions at Thursday's Board of Carroll County commissioners meeting involving the ownership of Willow Avenue, part of the proposed annexation.
It is unclear whether the county or the original owner of the land on which Willow Avenue sits - owns the road, said county comprehensive planner Scott Graf. The county maintains Willow Avenue, he said.
If a private interest owned the road, permission would be required before it could be officially annexed, Graf said.
Westminster needs to annex Willow Avenue because the 146-acre Hoff property, which fronts the south side of Old Westminster Pike, is not contiguous to Westminster's corporate boundary. City planners have proposed the annexation of Willow Avenue to connect the 146-acre property to the city. The annexation proposal does not include any of the homes on either side of Willow Avenue.
County Commissioner Dean Minnich called the Willow Avenue connection a surgical strike by Westminster and said he is concerned about the potential increase in residential density in the city.
City planners estimate nearly 300 homes could be developed on the property. Tentative plans have been made for residential development on the property, according to city planners.
Minnich also said he would like to see county staff meet with the appropriate Westminster officials to take a look at the annexation process. The city has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday to allow for public comment on the proposal.
The city's Planning and Zoning Commission granted the plan a favorable recommendation on Oct. 14.
Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff said the city is not opposed to the county's suggestion of keeping the public record open longer.
"We're going to be very deliberative about this," he said.
Westminster Council President Damian Halstad said he is concerned about how far the annexation would stretch city resources. The council will need to assess whether the city can adequately provide water, sewer and emergency response services to the parcel once it is developed, he said.
Halstad also said the council will need to consult with the city's attorney to find out if the Willow Avenue right-of-way is a large enough parcel to connect the Hoff property to the city to support the annexation.
Some residents are preparing to fight the annexation at Monday's public hearing.
"With them not establishing ownership [of Willow Avenue], I don't see how they can move forward," said county resident Michelle Jefferson.
Jefferson, who lives on Sycamore Street across from the city line, near the Hoff property, said she and other county residents who live nearby should have been notified of the public hearing directly.
The public hearing has been advertised, Dayhoff said, and it is not city policy to send individual letters to adjacent property owners. It is difficult for planners to gauge which residents will think they are affected by an annexation, he said.
Willow Avenue resident Elaine Everett said she has circulated a petition to help raise awareness of other residents who might be affected by the annexation. Everett said she has more than 270 signatures of residents who oppose the move.
She said she plans to present the petition to city officials on Monday evening.
Reach staff writer Greg Guenthner at 410-857-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Public hearing on the Hoff property annexation
When: 7 p.m., Monday
Where: Westminster City Hall, 1838 Emerald Hill Lane