Residents of West Lanham and West Lanham Hill voted 191 to 145 yesterday to remain unincorporated, turning down New Carrollton's offer to make them part of that city.
The vote came nearly two years after New Carrollton officials began their annexation campaign aimed at the unincorporated areas including the Metro East triangle, which is undergoing intensive office building development near the New Carrollton Metro subway station.
City officials tried to lure the 2,000 or-so residents into New Carrollton by offering lower taxes and better public services than are provided by Prince George's County.
Opponents of annexation -- including the businessmen in prosperous Metro East -- claimed that it would add another and undesirable layer of government and accused the city of attempting a tax grab and of playing on citizens' fears of the unknown.
For much of last year, the businessmen tied up the annexation attempt in court, accusing the city of failing to allow citzens to partipants in early deliberations on the annexation.
Had the annexation been approved at yesterday's referendum, New Carrollton would have gained nearly $200,000 a year in new tax revenue upon completion of Metro East. Now the city collects only about $275,000 from its 15,000 residents. City officials also said they would have gained more control over zoning decisions in the unincorporated area.
Yesterday's voter turnout of 336 represented more than 60 percent of the approximately 530 persons that election officials estimated were eligible to vote.