Grantsville Man Wins Suit To Remove Property From Annexation Plan

(Excerpted from Cumberland Times-News, March 6, 2014)

GRANTSVILLE — A River Road businessman who successfully sued the town of Grantsville will have his property removed from the town’s annexation plan.

On Feb. 7, Garrett County Circuit Court Judge James L. Sherbin ruled in favor of Rodney Youmans, who owns and operates Meshach Browning’s Cabins on the River at 315 River Road.

Youmans’ attorney, Robert Kazary, Cumberland, told the court that in 2006 the town sought to annex the land upon which the Goodwill Mennonite Nursing Home sits so that municipal water could be provided, allowing an expansion of that business. During that process, some other private properties, including Youmans, were also included in the annexation effort.

In his written opinion, Sherbin noted that two annexation plans existed, with the first one in 2008 providing an extension of sewer service to Youmans’ property. A second plan, filed in 2011, does not include that offer, Sherbin pointed out. “The evidence that plaintiff was to be provided sewer service is substantial,” Sherbin wrote. The town discovered that providing sewer service to Youmans’ property would be cost prohibitive, according to Sherbin’s opinion.

In a footnote to his opinion, Sherbin wrote, “When a government agency promises a service, it is disconcerting that it, for whatever reason, reneges on that promise, particularly when its performance could have been known to be impossible with a minimal effort of preliminary inquiry …”

Sherbin ordered the town to change its records showing that Youmans’ property is not part of the annexation plan. The judge did require Grantsville to initiate a new plan.