Clear Spring could get shopping center

January 29, 1997


Staff Writer

CLEAR SPRING - Vincent Groh said Tuesday night that he would like to develop a shopping center including a convenience store, a drug store and doctor's office on 15 of his 88 acres outside Clear Spring near the Interstate 70 interchange.

"I think that would be the best use for it," Groh said in a telephone interview. A Food Lion or similar-sized supermarket probably would be too large for the area, Groh said.

The land, on the south side of U.S. 40 on the eastern edge of town, is zoned highway interchange, but the county is considering whether to rezone it and other property in the Clear Spring area agricultural.


Groh said he doesn't mind if most of his acreage is rezoned agricultural provided that 15 acres remain highway interchange. Plans to develop the property are on hold pending the rezoning decision, he said.

Groh said he was agreeable to a suggestion voiced by Clear Spring Water Commission President William V. Albowicz that a proposed senior housing center and library be located beside a shopping center on Groh land.

Albowicz told the Washington County Commissioners at a meeting Thursday night that they were "holding the town hostage" by not deciding quickly what land near the I-70 interchange will be rezoned from highway interchange to rural residential and agricultural.

Commissioner James R. Wade said the County Commissioners and the planning commission, which has held hearings on the matter and will take up the issue at its Feb. 11 meeting, are moving as fast as they can and want to make sure they make the right decision. Wade predicted the County Commissioners would vote on the rezoning in March.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners voted to seek state funds for a second senior housing development in Williamsport. The development would have 24 to 28 units and would be built near the existing development if the state awards funds.

The action meant the Clear Spring project - at least nine years in discussions - will be delayed another year. The main sticking point with the project is the lack of available land, said Housing Authority Director Richard Willson. Two sites that had been under consideration are located on Draper Road and Mill Street.

"The county has not given up," said Commissioner John Shank.

Many town residents are skeptical. "I'm tired of waiting," said senior citizen Leila Vance. "I'll soon be dead and we'll never have housing here in Clear Spring."

"I've been waiting to move into this thing for 15 years," said Frank Hull, 83, after the meeting.

Betty Shank, chairwoman of the Clear Spring Senior Housing/Library Committee, said "We are going to keep the faith."

Shank, however, said she didn't approve of merging the project with a Groh development. "I don't think that mixing senior housing, a library, a motel and a strip mall is a good idea," she said.

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