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La Plata will have to wait at least another month before the town council reaches a decision on the Walmart annexation after a Walmart attorney discovered that the public hearings were improperly advertised.

The town was supposed to run two separate legal advertisements in the Maryland Independent notifying the public of a public hearing for the annexation agreement and the act of the annexation itself, Town Manager Daniel Mears said.

Instead, the town ran one advertisement for the annexation agreement but not for the act of the annexation, Mears said.

Steve Scott of Scott Law Group in La Plata, who represents Faison Capital Development in the proposed annexation, said that a Walmart representative, Tom Klein, was checking for procedural errors in the case last weekend and discovered the error.

Mears informed the town council at Tuesday’s work session.

The legal ad issue pushes back the vote on the Walmart annexation, which was set for the council’s Aug. 23 business meeting.

All of the public comments remain valid from the previous hearings, Mears said, but there will have to be another public hearing on the annexation with proper advertising before the town council, which will take place Sept. 13.

Councilman Keith Back and Mayor Roy Hale said the town council would not be voting on the annexation the same day as the public hearing.

Hale said that the town council needed to review comments from the public hearing at least once before scheduling a vote on the annexation.

“This is about making sure that we are following all legal stipulations for the annexation’s public process,” Back said.

pwarner@somdnews.com