The Adams property and Seibert Farm, which make up about 80 acres along Gilbert Road west of Aberdeen, will become part of the city in less than 45 days, following the approval of two annexation resolutions by the mayor and City Council Monday evening.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of Resolution 19-R-02, accepting the annexation agreement between the city and those who want to develop about 400 residential units on the combined properties. The mayor and council also voted 4-1 to approve Resolution 19-R-03, which extends the city’s boundary and changes the zoning from agricultural to Integrated Business District, or IBD. Councilman Tim Lindecamp cast the lone dissenting vote both times.

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City leaders decided during their Aug. 12 meeting to postpone voting on both resolutions, as Patrick Small, senior planner with the Matrix Design Group of Crofton, was scheduled to present the draft Aberdeen I-95 Area Land Use Study the same night. Mayor Patrick McGrady and Councilman Steven Goodin pushed for additional time to review the study, which is separate from the annexation process.

The study area, which covers land west of the Route 22/I-95 interchange and Ripken Stadium, overlaps with the land targeted for annexation. Aberdeen leaders have been working in recent years to encourage more commercial and residential development on the west side of the city.

A handful of Aberdeen residents and those who live near the Adams property and Seibert Farm expressed their continued opposition Monday, although city leaders also heard comments that the annexation could help support existing businesses and job growth, plus give those who fill new jobs places to live in the city.

Gilbert Road resident Teanna Ringgold cited excerpts from the draft land-use study as she expressed concerns about the impact on the surrounding environment and how residents could be harmed by a proposal in the plan to widen Gilbert to accommodate new residents and increased traffic.

She asked how much land would need to be acquired, plus who would handle moving infrastructure such as power lines and pay for the project should Gilbert Road be widened.

“This annexation is going to significantly impact the residents that live there,” Ringgold said.

City resident Marla Posey-Moss asked the mayor and council to “consider the voices of the people who don’t want to be annexed,” as well as the lack of people within Aberdeen who have not expressed a view on the annexation, plus “the fact that there’s no representation from those areas serving on the current city council.”

Aberdeen leaders also heard calls to put the annexation up for a voter referendum, rather than have the mayor and council decide, and accusations that they or members of the Aberdeen Planning Commission support the annexation on behalf of developers.

Planning Commission member Michael Hiob said he wanted to make it clear that “we’re not in any developer’s corner.”

“I like to think we vote independently,” he said.

Regarding putting annexation up for a referendum, Hiob said making the decision on that process is “what we elect you folks to do,” indicating the mayor and council.

The annexation is slated to take effect 45 days after city leaders’ approval of the resolutions. The decision can be petitioned for referendum in that time frame, McGrady noted after the meeting.

That referendum can happen if at least 20 percent of registered voters in the municipality sign a petition, or if at least 20 percent of registered voters in the annexation area sign a petition. At least two-thirds of the county’s governing body can also seek a petition for referendum, according to a the Maryland Municipal League’s “Municipal Annexation Handbook."

Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck emphasized that city planning officials and staff, as well as the Planning Commission, work to ensure that the mayor and council have all the information they need on proposed development projects, and that they conform with existing plans for development and growth.

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She noted the commission has rejected plans for projects on the city’s west side, such as “a great big circle of warehouses,” because they did not meet plans for a mix of commercial and residential uses.

“Don’t think that any plan that comes in gets OK’d; it doesn’t,” she said. “It doesn’t happen; there is a lot that the Planning Commission says, ‘no’ to.”

Landbeck said city leaders “will be very judicious at making sure that it’s a good plan [for the annexation area], and that it will meet the needs of the people and the needs of Aberdeen.”

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