Twelve Gaithersburg residents last week opposed the annexation and development of 148 acres at Rte. 28 and Muddy Branch Road at a City Council meeting.

"Most residents qualified their opposition by saying they opposed development of the property, not necessarily the annexation itself," city staff assistant Toni Collier said.

Collier said residents were concerned that the residential development proposed by Aldre Properties Inc. would further clog traffic on the two roads. The firm has a contract to buy the land.

Aldre Properties has said it would construct two more lanes to the part of Muddy Branch Road that adjoins the property. It also volunteered to contribute $250 for each home it builds to join other developers' contributions targeted at improving Rte. 28.

The City Council will accept testimony from residents until April 20 and then decide whether to annex the land. City Manager Sanford Daily said the current owner, Eig Enterprises Inc., as well as Aldre Properties, are requesting the annexation. If the parcel remains outside the city limits, it stays under the jurisdiction of the county.

In other business, the city awarded a $7,650 contract to Parcourse Ltd. for a physical fitness and exercise trail along Muddy Branch Road. Seventy-five percent of the cost will be reimbursed to the city under the state's open space program, Collier said.

The city also awarded a contract for $3,785 to Long Fence Co. Inc. to install some fencing at the Gaithersburg Storm Water Management Basin.