Attorney William C. Wantz, representing the applicants, showed a video of the farm, located between Downsville and Sharpsburg pikes, and argued that the farm should be rezoned because of a change in the character of the neighborhood since 1973 when it was zoned agricultural.
Fred J. Papa, president of WKL Consulting Services, Inc., testified for the applicants that since then numerous fast-food restaurants, a Greyhound Bus Terminal, strip shopping, several businesses, Friendship Technology Park and residential developments like Cross Creek have cropped up in the area.
Kenneth M. Drummond, industrial development manager for Norfolk Southern railroad, which has a track running across the farm, said the property would be an ideal site for light manufacturing, warehousing, distribution centers and printing plants.
The economic development would benefit county residents by creating local jobs and adding to the tax base, Drummond said.
But neighbors and some others in the audience of about 130 people in the Washington County Courthouse disagreed. Some audience members were there for other rezoning cases.
Joe Swope, of Boonsboro, urged that "corporate welfare," which has the state and federal governments building a $14 million interchange at Interstate 70 and Downsville Pike for Allegheny Power, not be used to justify this rezoning.
He predicted a "domino effect" of development all the way to the Potomac River if the rezoning is allowed.
David D. Pool, of Melody Lane, asked for a show of hands of how many of his neighbors opposed the rezoning and about 15 people responded.
Pool said that generally a highway interchange zoning designation is only supposed to extend a half mile from the center of the interchange and only a small portion of the Artz farm would meet that description.