A plan to annex more than 200 acres off of Level Road was allowed to move forward Monday night by the Havre de Grace City Council, even though not all the parties have agreed to the annexation.
The council introduced the resolution that would approve the annexation of 244.372 acres near Route 155 and Bulle Rock Parkway, but assured residents it was only the start of a very long process.
The tracts are known as the Green, Patrone and Ianniello properties.
City attorney Paul Ishak said the city must advertise the plan for four weeks in the newspaper, after which a public hearing is conducted by the mayor and council at least 15 days after the last advertising.
Councilman Joe Smith had asked Ishak to spell out the steps of the process, as well as to confirm that not all parties in the annexation had agreed to be annexed.
Ishak agreed, but said "far more" than the required 25 percent did sign the petition to be annexed.
Smith said: "I think any time we're talking about a large parcel of land, it behooves us to remind the citizens of the process…I think it needs to be carefully considered at all steps."
He added he was "a little frustrated" that the resolution was only presented to council members shortly before Thanksgiving.
Council President Randy Craig and Councilman Fred Cullum, however, pointed out the resolution is nowhere near being adopted and the public will have plenty of time to give feedback.
Cullum said the annexed land would be required to have 60 acres of open space, which he said the city has never required for an annexation before.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty also told Smith, after he mentioned the annexation of Bulle Rock land: "I assure you when Bulle Rock was handled by the city, it was not a quickie. That was a long drawn-out process also."
Comcast agreement, police chief
The council also approved a shorter version of a renewed franchise agreement with Comcast.
Craig said it makes sense to reconsider the agreement in eight years instead of 20 because technology changes so quickly.
"Who knows what will be in the next 15 or 20 years or so?" Craig said, adding that many businesses use public rights-of-way.
"It's important when they utilize those spaces that public benefit is gained," he said.
Councilman John Correri was alone in voting against the renewal. He said previously he has had negative experiences with Comcast lately.
Correri said Comcast's customer service has been poor and he would often go without service despite having paid for it.
"Tonight I feel I must say no [to the agreement renewal]," Correri said.
The council also unanimously renewed Police Chief Teresa Walter's contract for another three years after meeting in a closed session for more than an hour to discuss personnel matters.
Walter will receive a 5 percent raise. She had been making $108,708 and will be making $114,143, procurement officer Jim Newby said.
Laurrapin, students recognized
The owners of Laurrapin Grill received a proclamation on the restaurant's 10th anniversary.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty called Bruce and Sharifa Clark "ambassadors" for the city and noted they have spent more than half of each dollar on local food, strengthening the local food system and promoting healthy communities.
Smith, who is also a local business owner, agreed, saying: "Your support of local farmers has been terrific."
The council recognized students of the month, Andrew Ennesser of Havre de Grace Elementary School; Bridget Tramontana of Havre de Grace Middle School; Allison Grabowski of Havre de Grace High School; and Demontez Chin, Logan Forsythe, Michael Hauf, Ryan Hopps, Stephanie Steinhilber and Darren Sumpter from Meadowvale Elementary School.
The council approved the Duck Drop and Fireworks for Dec. 31, Concerts in the Park for June and July 2014; Walk on Water 5K for June 21; and the 26th annual Children's Art Festival for Sept. 6.