Residents against the annexation of Smithsburg

Town will hold a final vote in May

SMITHSBURG, Md. - The petition for a referendum has been moving forward with the Smithsburg annex after getting enough signatures from people against it.

The Smithsburg EMS has 50 volunteers and 18 employees, and they say their building space is constantly over its capacity.

They were hopeful to finally have a solution when Cloverly Hill LLC. offered them 2 acres of land as part of their commercial development.

“We've been looking for years to find new land to build on. We've had this plan for years to try to get a bigger building but we've had a hard time finding land, so when he came to us and offered us over 2 acres of land to build on for free. It's hard to turn that down," Kevin Demmons, the Smithsburg EMS chief said.

But that could all be at stake after a petition of referendum was submitted to the town last week.

"If the referendum goes through and the people come in and vote and they turn away the annexation and then he goes back to the county, in all likelihood we will lose the land that he has given to us because he's going to have to redesign the layout of his property," Chief Demmons said.

With majority vote, council voted back in December in favor of annexing the town but received more than the 437 signatures required to move the referendum forward.

Officials say this means the land would go back to the county instead of being annexed into the town.

"This is still a matter of of whether you want to affirm vote in affirmation of the town council's 4 to 1 decision to leave the annexation in town or if you vote against it, you’re going to shift it back to the county," said Smithsburg Councilmember Donnie Souders.

Councilmember Craig McCleaf was one of many who are against the annexation.

He says it’s because he would like to see Smithsburg remain a small town and doesn’t want to the congestion that it will bring to the area.

But those in favor say it is better for the land to go under the town so they can be involved.

"There is going to be some sort of development we just don't know and we would have absolutely no control over said development," Souders said.

The developer has plans to have a combination of residential and commercial buildings. However, officials say if the land goes to the county, they will only be able to develop the land residentially.

The town will have a final referendum vote on May 8, the same day as their town election for mayor and two council positions.

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