2 lawsuits opposing Annapolis annexation dismissed Judge's ruling boosts plan for subdivision

November 01, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner has dismissed two lawsuits that tried to stop the city of Annapolis from annexing 103.6 acres on the Annapolis Neck peninsula to allow the construction of a 200-home subdivision.

County officials and two civic groups had argued that the annexation would illegally create an "island" of county land, off Bywater Road on the southwestern edge of the city, bordered on three sides by city land and on the fourth by a tributary of Chesapeake Bay.

Lerner ruled that the state law that would prohibit such annexations applies only to cases in which the county land is bordered on all four sides by "real property." Water doesn't count.

Paul G. Goetzke, the Annapolis city attorney, called the decision precedent-setting ruling for Maryland, where several annexation cases are being litigated.

"Although the statute was clear, no court had previously been called to rule upon this issue, so it will offer helpful guidance to all cities throughout Maryland," he said.

Barbara Samorajczyk, vice president of the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation and one of the plaintiffs, vowed to appeal. She and others argued that the additional development would make matters worse on traffic choked Forest Drive.

The Annapolis City Council annexed the land a year ago at the request of the owners, Falls Church, Va.-based Farmers National Land Corp., to pave the way for Chrisland Corp., based in Fairfax, to build the houses, which the county would not permit.

The project has been stalled since the county and the civic groups filed suit.

Lerner heard arguments Oct. 23 and ruled Wednesday. The decision was released yesterday.

"We think these cases should never have been filed," said Jonathan A. Hodgson, the lawyer for Chrisland. "The city had a clear right to annex the land, and the developer had a clear right to ask for annexation under a tradition that's centuries old."

Pub Date: 11/01/97

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