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Annexations for Glengarry and Presbyterian Home were both shot down in a 3-2 vote on Monday, leaving tensions high at the close of the Aberdeen City Council meeting.

The vote whether or not to draft annexation agreements at the previous council meeting April 13 was a reliable predictor of their ultimate fate.

Monday’s vote didn’t change, with Mayor Mike Bennett and Councilwomen Ruth Elliott and Ruth Ann Young voting against both annexations and Council President Mike Hiob and Councilman Ron Kupferman voting in favor.

Glengarry was the first annexation up for discussion, 497.21 acres that would have added to the city and developed housing. The annexation is similar to the Wetlands annexation that was voted down 2-1 in referendum in 2006.

Despite the overwhelming rejection by citizens then, Hiob said Monday he does not believe the referendum vote was a fair representation of the will of the people. He referenced the percentage of registered voters who turned out and said that this was an example of those who are in favor of an issue sitting back instead of taking action.

“To say referendum does not voice the will of the people is a very strong statement,” Elliott later responded.

The councilwoman emphasized that people continue to voice the same opposition as in 2006.

“When does the vote count and when doesn’t it,” Young asked rhetorically.

Kupferman said the Wetlands plan scared people with its R3 zoning. He said that because Glengarry would be zoned R2, the referendum outcome does not apply.

“Annexation is not a dirty word,” he added.

Neither Young, nor Elliott, said they felt they could change their votes, with Young referencing her respect for the voters and zoning issues as her main reasons.

Glengarry falls outside Harford County’s Development Envelope and is currently zoned agricultural. Young said she could not in good conscience change her vote to support it.

Although Bennett refrained from commenting, he joined with Elliott and Young in voting against the Glengarry annexation.

The proposed annexation of 11.55 acres for Presbyterian Home met with the same fate, losing 3-2, with Bennett, Young and Elliott voting against and Hiob and Kupferman voting for.

This annexation was going smoothly until proposed legislation in Annapolis complicated the issue. The legislation would have granted the $100 million development a 100 percent exemption from all future city and county property taxes.

The Maryland General Assembly did not approve the exemption, and instead passed a bill that leaves future tax credits to the discretion of the county and municipalities.

This late change in the legislation did not, however, affect the outcome for the annexation.

Bennett said he still supports the Villages of Carsins Run, the name of the Presbyterian Home project, which he said can still be developed on the 87 acres previously annexed by the city.

He said the latest annexation on the table seemed unnecessary, adding that it “does not make or break this project.”

But Kupferman said because of the substantial annexation already approved for Presbyterian Home, the latest should go through.

“It’s going to be an enhancement to the property, what’s wrong with that?” he asked.

Hiob said he didn’t understand the problem now that the tax legislation had changed.

While the annexation was under discussion, Hiob expressed his bafflement at the change in votes and wondered aloud about influence at play. He expressed this thought again at the end of the meeting, emphasizing twice that it was not an accusation, but that he hoped none of his colleagues was catering to interest groups.


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