Crofton association seeking new memebers Stonegate among communities invited WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

January 26, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The Crofton Civic Association, which operates on a $550,000 budget for 10,000 residents within its boundaries, wants to expand its special tax district rolls by encouraging several communities to join the association.

Association leaders have set up a committee to shepherd two new subdivisions through the process and to convince four existing developments, including a small shopping center, that accepting the invitation benefits all of them.

"This is in the community interest," said Jordan L. Harding, Crofton's town manager. "There is political strength in numbers."

But some of those in the targeted communities are not so sure the enticements will work, especially those who were turned down once before.

In 1981, 51 percent of the homeowners in Stonegate, a community in the Crofton triangle of Routes 3, 450 and 424, voted to join the Crofton Civic Association. But board members turned down their request, fearing that the vote in Stonegate was so close that going through the lengthy acceptance procedures might be a waste of time.

"We just wanted to be a part of the community," said Angie Robb, a Stonegate resident. Her community association held another vote in 1989 but couldn't come up with a majority to join with Crofton, she said.

If all the communities become part of the tax district, it could mean an additional $150,000 a year from about 500 homes to support a five-member police force and other benefits in addition to services the county provides.

To join the tax district, communities must submit petitions signed by a majority of homeowners within its boundaries. Crofton voters must approve the petition with a 70 percent majority, and the County Council, which approves the tax district's budget, must also approve.

In a development where no homes have been sold, the developer or principal owner of the subdivision can apply to join the tax district.

Richard Azrael, president of Chateau Builders, which is developing the Willows of Crofton, has applied to start the process for his community. He said he wants to use membership as a selling point when he puts the first homes on the market in March.

Potential buyers should like the additional police protection and services offered by the association, he said. "You've got to get the market advantage out of it. It just makes sense for us."

In December, the residents of Crofton South voted to join the civic association. Dennis Gilligan, developer of the project, decided to let residents decide whether they wanted to belong to the association.

"Yes, it's a selling point," Mr. Gilligan said. "But the burden of that is the extra tax payments."

Crofton's expansion committee is reviewing Crofton South's petition.

The committee, headed by Crofton resident James C. Overmier, also will try to encourage several other communities to join, including Crofton Commons and Cedar Grove townhouse developments, Cedars of Crofton and a small shopping center on Route 424 that consists of a bank, a 7-Eleven and a liquor store.

"It's not an easy thing to do," Mr. Overmier said, adding that he wanted to study the legal issues involved before the group has its first meeting.

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