ANNAPOLIS — The way the state's cities and towns annex property from counties might need to be altered to avoid court challenges, a joint committee of the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties.
County Commissioner Julia Gouge and 13 other officials from throughout Maryland met at MML headquarters here Thursday and discussed the state's annexation law and possible ways to change it.
"It's the legal opinion of some lawyers that the law could end upfacing a court challenge," said Steve McHenry, senior staff associate at the MML.
The possible court challenge comes from a 1988 Montgomery County case in which property owners' rights came under scrutiny.
In the annexation process, a property owner has the right to ask to become part of an incorporated municipality. To do so, the property owner must gather a petition of signatures supporting his or her decision to be annexed.
"Annexation is a delicate, complicated issue," McHenry said. "We want to make sure to balance the right of property owners with the right of all residents of a town and of a county."
The MML and MACo will meet again to discuss the issue further in several months.