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Property owner says she does not want to be part of proposed Havre de Grace annexation

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The request to have Havre de Grace annex 241 acres off Route 155 may hit a roadblock as one of the affected property owners says she does not want her land taken into the city limits.

Charlotte Patrone, who owns 4.21 acres adjacent to the Bulle Rock water tower, said she does not want to be part of the large annexation request that was introduced last week via resolution for consideration by the Havre de Grace City Council.

The so-called Green and Patrone properties make up the larger piece of the proposed annexation, with 227 acres, and consist of eight separate properties off the east side of Bulle Rock Parkway.

They would join a nearly 14-acre strip known as the Ianiello property. The entire area encompasses what has historically been known as Mt. Felix Farm.

Charlotte Patrone said Wednesday she was upset by the proposal, which has been bounced around over the past year, because "it's overbuilt." With the city's current development situation, she said, it does not make sense to build more houses and retail projects.

"Bulle Rock is only 50 percent built out," Patrone said, noting her background is in real estate. "They are driving the costs of the existing homes in Havre de Grace down the toilet."

"It's just a poor use of land and poor planning," Patrone said. "Just leave it alone for the time being. What's wrong with it?"

Building on the Green/Patrone and Ianiello properties would push intense development along Route 155 west to I-95, where Upper Chesapeake Health plans to build a new hospital and surrounding office and research campus between I-95 and Bulle Rock Parkway.

Patrone said the city does not need any more houses on quarter-acre lots, which, she said, is what annexing her property would mean.

"There is no market for new construction at this point in time," she added. "The hospital is not going in until they find out how 'Obamacare' is going to impact their costs."

Patrone, who lives in Towson, said she had had contact with any of the other property owners except for a message she received in the mail. She explained she has not lived on the property for a long time but planned to move back to retire.

City attorney Paul Ishak said state law urges annexations to not exclude nearby parcels that might create an enclave or awkward configurations. Enclaves of county land surrounded by city land are not permitted under state law; awkward configurations, though discouraged, aren't prohibited.

"The way the law is written, the petitioner can include other properties, and this has happened in the past," Ishak noted.

Patrone said she will be meeting with the mayor to discuss her concerns.

If all parties fail to come to an agreement, however, Havre de Grace could be headed for a repeat of a failed annexation of Shawnee Brooke in 2004.

In that instance, residents narrowly voted down the request to annex the 26-home community on Chapel Road. The city had approached Shawnee Brooke about annexation so the property would no longer be a near-enclave surrounded by property within the city.

The annexation failed by a single vote, Ishak said.

"This is similar to that," he said of the Level Road annexation request. "Apparently there's a couple of different parcels that people call the Green farm and one of those owners has indicated even prior to the petition that they would be against it, but the majority of them do say, 'I want to go through with it.'"

The division could mean the issue comes up for a vote among the property owners, Ishak said.

For the city's part, Ishak said Havre de Grace just hopes to avoid a "mishmash" of city and county territories. He noted such is the case along Chapel Road where some parcels are within the city limits, while others are in the county's administrative jurisdiction.

The city's experience along Chapel Road has prompted the government's leaders to seek bringing all the Bulle Rock/Level Road properties in at one time.

"For the city to say, 'Well, bring in one but not the other,' that goes against the comprehensive plan," Ishak said, adding, however, "We may be in another situation similar to the Shawnee Brooke matter."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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