BOWIE — The Bowie City Council held a public hearing to get input from residents on the annexation of 42 acres of land, known as Pecan Ridge, into the city which will be the site of a new housing development during their meeting on Sept. 16,
Pecan Ridge is located at the end of Old Laurel Bowie Road, which is now known as Lloyd Station Road and next to the WB&A Trail. The proposal includes the development of an 80-lot subdivision of single-family, detached homes on the 42 acres of land.
The proposal first came before the city council on Oct. 1, 2018, when the city held a public hearing on the original request for annexation by the property developer, Caruso Homes. Following that hearing, the city council allowed the city and the developer to begin the process of determining the possibility of annexing the property after the council reviewed and voted on the subdivision’s preliminary plan.
The preliminary plan will be under review by the city council in the coming months. As part of the process, they held a public hearing to discuss the potential of annexing the property. However, the few people who spoke at the hearing were against the annexation.
Belinda Johnson lives at 8500 Laurel Bowie Road at the very top of the hill with a piece of her family’s property adjacent to what will be known as Pecan Ridge, she told the council. The farmland she lives on was bought by her grandparents in 1949 and
Johnson and her mother is still active in the riding community there. Johnson told the council that she worried about what the annexation of the land into the city could mean for her family and the people who live there.
“When you talk about annexing this subdivision, conservation subdivision, into the city of Bowie, you’re not only talking about bringing more people to this location,” Johnson said. “You’re talking about bringing traffic onto the street that I live on. You’re talking about bringing more people only property that’s already set aside for BG&E with wildlife. You’re talking about completely disturbing an ecosystem that’s been there before 1949. I’m concerned about annexing the road.”
Johnson raised questions about how much of that area will be annexed and whether they would receive sufficient services such as snow plowing and litter pickup, something she said her mother who lives in Bowie does not get regularly. She also wondered how the addition of 80 homes would impact the already overpopulated schools.
“There are a lot of things that I don’t think everyone is looking at when they say development is great,” Johnson said. “Development is great for some people. It’s not necessarily going to be great for the people who already live in this community.”
Following the hearing, the council had a brief discussion on the annexation and Councilmember Isaac Trouth asked what the city staff recommended the council do about it.
“With regard to the annexation concept, the annexation of pecan road in the manner in which the developer speaks is in line with the spirit of annexation. This would increase our tax base with the minimum workload on the staff,” said City Manager Alfred Lott.
“So this is a project that has merit and is in line with other development annexations that the city has made so that’s why we presented it for your consideration.”
The council also wondered whether there had been any other discussions with stakeholders about the project to which Lott informed them that there had been one other public hearing about a year ago which had a good turnout.
“I think it would be a great idea if you have a stakeholders meeting before asking the council to do anything,” Trouth said to the Caruso Homes representatives at the meeting. “That would be my recommendation because right now I don’t get the good sense that the stakeholders are in agreement with you on this project and there may be some aspects of it that the exchange of ideas between stakeholders and you, the developer, you might gain some insight into the different things that you can do to increase the viability of the project.”
Following their discussion, the city council decided to approve Trouth’s recommendation to revisit the annexation at a later date to give the developer more time to meet with stakeholder.