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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Advantages to annexation

When a town annexes property adjacent to its borders, it isn’t always about expanding its tax base, encouraging commercial or residential growth, or seeking change in the nature of the community.
In many instances, these things might be factors in deciding to bring swaths of property into the municipal embrace, but towns also pursue annexations for the opposite reason: to protect the nature of the community.
That, as Berlin Planning Commission member Pete Cosby observed during the most recent session of that body, is a major consideration in the town’s early contemplations of whether the town limits should be extended to include the Gerardi property on the western end of Route 346 and Route 50.
The frequently overlooked advantage of annexation is that it gives communities more control over how a property is developed. More than one community on this peninsula will bear witness to that fact, as they helplessly watched rapid growth erupt on their perimeters just beyond their regulatory grasp.
The Route 1 commercial strip/Rehoboth Beach dichotomy, for instance, is a result of that.
Also, as Cosby and commission member Newt Chandler pointed out, the area has been designated a growth area by country government, which means some kind of development could occur there at some point with or without Berlin’s involvement.
Given that situation, Berlin officials would be derelict not to talk about the prospect of annexing the property, and they need to do that unencumbered by preconceived notions of where that might lead.
Determining what county planning officials envision for this growth area, as the commission intends to do, is the logical next step.