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Annapolis city council rejects annexation of Chesapeake Harbour


The Annapolis city council has narrowly rejected the long-debated annexation of the Villages of Chesapeake Harbour, and passed a plan to help finance a parking garage at the proposed Park Place development.

Despite several amendment attempts, annexation of the 452 Chesapeake Harbour waterfront units - in the works for 16 years - failed at Monday night's meeting to garner the support of six council members that was needed.

Finally amended to give a limited tax break to residents for 10 years, the proposal failed with only five members in favor. It was later reconsidered and failed again in a 4-5 vote. A two-thirds majority was needed for passage.

The city also considered a resolution to collect approximately $1.7 million held in escrow from the community. The money was collected from residents in exchange for the use of city water and, as an incentive for their approval, was to be returned when annexation was complete.

If the move to collect that money is approved by the council, it could face challenges by Chesapeake Harbour residents, whose attorneys have said residents believe they negotiated in good faith toward annexation.

The council, in an 8-1 vote, approved the city's first tax-increment financing plan, pledging to issue up to $25 million in bonds to finance and then own 896 of 1,396 spaces of an underground parking garage at the $150 million Park Place development.

The plan, which is contingent on approval by the Anne Arundel County Council, would pledge all county and city property taxes from the improvements on the parcel at West Street and Taylor Avenue for up to 30 years toward paying off the debt.

In a narrow vote, the council also approved a resolution introduced by Alderman Herbert H. McMillan "expressing the city's strong commitment" to a renegotiated rate for sewer service with the Naval Academy that is no less than the rate paid by city residents and businesses.

The city has been attempting to negotiate a new fee with the Navy since rates for the rest of the city were raised last year. Mayor Dean L. Johnson called the resolution unnecessary and said it was "putting the cart before the horse" to set the rate while negotiating.

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