A plan for the City of Laurel to annex a small plot of land that includes a church is drawing criticism from a resident community that says it has been shut out of the process.
During last night’s Laurel Council meeting, city officials moved closer to voting on a resolution that would allow the city to annex more than four acres near the intersection of Cherry Lane and Route 197, where the sits. The annexation would allow the church to reclassify a land zoning designation for a small patch of wooded area adjacent to the church.
But residents from the Village at The Greens of the Patuxent, a roughly 132 single-family home community that abuts the church property, are pushing the Council to slow down on the rezoning to give them a chance to give input. Residents contend they were not told about the annexation and are concerned the church could redevelop the wooded area nearest the community’s homes.
“The [homeowners’ board] received no notice,” said Robert McGuire, secretary of the community’s association. “We’re concerned about the implications of the annexation.”
McGuire said that he and other residents fear the land could be developed into anything from housing units to a parking lot.
“Is it going to help our property value or hurt it?” he asked.
Representatives from the church petitioned to have the property annexed by the city. According to the Laurel Leader, church officials said the annexation would allow them to be on the same page as the community because it services the city.
Still, the church is exploring options on how to develop the parcel of wooded land—though no decision has been reached.
The Laurel Council will hold another public hearing on July 23 on the annexation. A decision could be reached as soon as Sept. 10.