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The ongoing debate between the Town of Hampstead and the Oakmont Green Golf Course over the use of a well for town water supply was the primary subject of a town hall-style meeting last week at the North Carroll Library.

The "I'm Glad You Asked" meeting, held on July 24, was set up by County Commissioner Michael Zimmer (R), though he was unable to attend because of an illness.

In his place, former state delegate and Manchester resident Joe Getty led the meeting, which was attended most by several residents of the Oakmont Green community.

Those residents expressed concern about an ongoing legal case in which the Town of Hampstead is seeking to buy or take over by condemnation a well in their neighborhood.

The town is seeking to buy this well, located near hole No. 13 of the Oakmont Green course, along with a parcel of land surrounding it. The town has made Oakmont Green Inc. an offer for the well and land, but it has been turned down.

Currently, the water from the privately-owned well is being used to irrigate the golf course.

At the meeting, several residents expressed concern that the well acquisition by the town would adversely impact the golf course, and that the additional water supply would fuel additional development in the southern part of Hampstead.

Residents said the golf course is used for local activities and gatherings. They said they're worried that if the golf course closed or if its business is harmed, it would have a trickle-down impact on other businesses that benefit from golf course patrons.

But Hampstead Mayor Haven Shoemaker, in an interview with The Eagle after the meeting, said the town acquiring the well would not interfere with the golf course. He said a pump house would be built in the woods, so as to not interfere with the course. Shoemaker said the golf course has another irrigation well.

The mayor also said the town needs the water from the Oakmont Green well not only to have future growth in Hampstead, but also to provide for the current Hampstead residents.

Richard Titus, an attorney representing Oakmont Green, said this week he believes it's unfortunate the town is fighting for condemnation of the well because future development using the well's water would essentially be done at the cost of harm to an existing business, Oakmont Green. According to a fact sheet on the town's Web site regarding the issue, Hampstead has never used eminent domain in its 119-year existence.

At the meeting, Getty noted that most government policies try to consider eminent domain as "a last resort." He said he believed "eminent domain should be used sparingly."

Other issues

Other issues discussed at the meeting included the pending opening of a traffic circle connected to the Hampstead Bypass (See Page 6).

Getty also updated residents on the status of the new Ebb Valley Elementary School, scheduled to open this coming school year, and Manchester Valley High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

He also reminded residents that the Board of County Commissioners is being expanded from three to five members. Beginning with the 2010 election, commissioners will be elected by district. Getty noted that residents will only be able to vote for the commissioner from their district, and not the other four.


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