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Presbyterian Home annexation moving forward in Aberdeen

A plan by Presbyterian Home of Maryland to annex nine acres into the City of Aberdeen continues to move through the city council.

Aberdeen's council held a public hearing on the proposal Monday night. Only one person spoke, Presbyterian Home attorney Joe Snee.

He said the site consists of two parcels of just over nine acres on Long Drive right by Ripken Stadium. Presbyterian Home will retain about eight acres and developer Peter Bosworth is under contract to buy the remaining acre or so, Snee said.

Bosworth is proposing a 12,000-square-foot commercial property on the site and, possibly, a residential property on the second parcel, farther back from Long Drive.

The whole property is bifurcated by wetlands. About a third of the property would be commercial, a third residential and a third wetlands, Snee said Tuesday.

Megan Maffeo, of Morris & Ritchie Associates, said it is likely the developer could put eight to 10 single-family lots there, or even more apartments.

Aberdeen's planning department calls for mixed use in that area, Snee said.

Phyllis Grover, Aberdeen's planning and community development director, said the city's planning commission unanimously approved the annexation.

Matt Lapinsky, public works director, and Doug Miller, city manager, said the development would most likely require expanding existing water services.

Lapinsky said the longtime discussion of a water tower west of I-95 will continue to be a factor.

Miller said: "It's very much a chicken-and-egg situation. We need a development to build the tower and also we need people to use the water. There's going to be a tipping point at some point but we have to see the development first."

Presbyterian Home was in the public eye in 2011 for calling off its plans to build a continuing care retirement community in Aberdeen after state legislators failed to subsidize the project.

The new nine-acre property is adjacent to the 140 acres that was to be the site of Presbyterian Home, Snee said Tuesday.

Presbyterian Home purchased the new property after the 140 acres were bought, he said.

He did not know the status of the 140 acres, or if anything is being planned there.

The area by Long Drive has also had several attempts at residential and commercial development in the past decade. In 2004, the Fieldside Village project was going to put mixed-use buildings around a condo complex by the stadium, but only one condo building was ever finished.

Last year, a new developer returned with plans for seven "upscale" apartment buildings at the site.

Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck, meanwhile, thanked the planning commission for making sure the annexation request met state standards and city requirements.

She noted: "This would be commercial to offset some of the residential that might eventually go there."

Also at the meeting, the council approved resolutions supporting the Highlands School, the Boys and Girls Club and LASOS.

Council members also approved requests from Lapinsky to get a contract on a new cleaning service for roughly $3,000, a pick-up truck for $41,790, a trash truck (which also included surplusing a vehicle) for a total of $99,230, an excavator for $60,700, a skid loader for about $71,000 and a cargo trailer for $47,019.

The council also approved a one-ton pick-up to be sold as surplus.

Lapinsky said the city has just finished paving Middleton Road and will soon move on to Mount Royal Avenue, between Route 22 and St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Landbeck's granddaughter, Anna Landbeck, also got a $250 scholarship from the public works department. A Heritage Trust Scholarship Award was given to student Marcus Webster.

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