Is Greenmount going to be swallowed up? NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

April 14, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Some things don't change.

Forty-six years ago, it was as unclear as it is now: Is Greenmount a village unto itself, or is it merely an appendage of Hampstead?

A 1947 calendar for the old Greenmount general store, Dehoff and Rote, symbolizes the situation. At the bottom of the calendar are the store's Greenmount address -- and its Hampstead phone number.

Over the years, the unincorporated town of Greenmount has been largely overshadowed by Hampstead to the south and Manchester to the north.

Over time, Greenmount lost its general store, its school and its post office.

Meanwhile, Greenmount's southern neighbor, the town of Hampstead, has grown. Its boundaries expanded as it annexed a lot here, a parcel there.

Now, Hampstead is closing in on Greenmount.

"I think some people probably wonder where Greenmount begins and Hampstead ends," said Charles E. Bevard, who operated his auction business out of the old Greenmount railroad station until December.

Where Hampstead begins is a good question. If you drive down Route 30 from Manchester to Reisterstown, you enter and leave Hampstead at least three times, crossing the town's irregularly shaped boundaries repeatedly.

As those boundaries snaked north, they partially encircled Greenmount. Hampstead annexed the Oakmont Green area east Greenmount. Hampstead now curls around Greenmount as far north as North Carroll Lane.

Further annexations are likely.

Hampstead Town Manager John A. Riley said Monday that within the past month, he has been approached by representatives of two Greenmount economic interests seeking to have parcels of land annexed by Hampstead. He said he could not reveal their names.

"They want town water," he said.

Hampstead's code says town water service can be offered only within the town's boundaries. Landowners who want town water have to have their land annexed to get it.

The code also says Hampstead can annex only land that touches on a town boundary. And Hampstead cannot create new "enclaves," islands of county land surrounded by Hampstead but not part of the town.

"It's kind of like connect-the-dots," said Mr. Bevard.

Some county residents do not want their land to be annexed into an incorporated town.

Mr. Bevard, who lives in Hampstead, had opposed the annexation of his neighborhood there several years ago. He said annexation means, "You're going to get more taxes, and you're going to get your well condemned, and you're going to be on the town water system."

Mr. Riley said taxes are a consideration for some people who live in areas that may be annexed.

"But if you look at what the taxes do for people," he said, "it $$ would be a wash."

He said trash pickup service is less expensive for town residents than it is outside the town limits. And some town residents may pay less for fire insurance because of the town's fire company, he said.

Usually, Mr. Riley said, it is the residents of an area who seek annexation, not the town.

If people don't want to be part of Hampstead, he said, "Why would you want to fight them?"

One reason Hampstead had been interested in annexing the Oakmont Green property, Mr. Riley said, was that the area is rich in water.

However, he said, the town now has eight wells lined up for future use as new developments are built. He said Hampstead is not "actively looking" for more water.

Mr. Bevard said Greenmount residents describe themselves as being from Greenmount, not from Hampstead.

But Joseph Getty, director of the Historical Society of Carroll County, said, "There was no Greenmount until the railroad came through."

In Greenmount, he said, "There wasn't a real sense of community."

One reason, he said, was that "Greenmount never really had a town center."

The heart of Greenmount was a train station. The station also housed the post office and a general store.

Mr. Getty said nearby towns that flourished, like Manchester and Hampstead, grew up around crossroads, or found some way to attract industry. Hampstead had its milling, he said, and Manchester had cigar factories.

"Greenmount never attracted a similar commercial density," he said.

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