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Debate continues over Artz farm rezoning

March 11, 1997


Staff Writer

The battle over rezoning the Artz farm on Rench Road south of Hagerstown continued Monday night as more than 100 residents showed up at a second public hearing before Washington County Commissioners and the Washington County Planning Commission.

Artz consultant Fred J. Papa said the 611.5-acre rezoning, which would allow a variety of residential, industrial and commercial uses on the farm, would fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.

Papa noted that parts of the property were inside the urban growth area, and was bordered by Allegheny Power's industrial park on the west, Interstate 70 on the north and land zoned Highway Interchange 2 on the east.


Artz attorney William C. Wantz said that the change from the original rezoning application submitted last year would provide a 26-acre Rural Residential buffer between the Pleasant View Heights housing development southwest of the Artz farm and the proposed 100-acre Industrial Restricted zone.

Also, a 100-foot setback between the residential and industrial zones and a stand of trees would provide additional buffers, Wantz said.

Attorney Robert Kresslein, representing the Pleasant View Heights Association, said that the Artz farm rezoning should not have been allowed to be resubmitted until a full year had passed. The application was temporarily withdrawn earlier this year and resubmitted.

Kresslein also said rezoning the Artz farm was "completely inappropriate" and could set a precedent that would affect other interchanges in the county.

Also, he said the farm did not have easy access to the interstate and should not receive a highway interchange designation.

In order to get a rezoning, an applicant must argue that the original zoning in 1973 was in error, or that a substantial change has occurred in the neighborhood. Kresslein said that neither was the case. "Rezoning itself will change the character of the neighborhood," he said.

Area residents also complained about the strain development would put on area roads, schools and fire and rescue services.

George Anikis, a Sharpsburg Pike resident, said he lived in Howard County for 30 years, and saw how development brought with it traffic, pollution, trash and crime.

Anikis also said the Artz property regularly has drainage problems, and suggested that adding lots of asphalt in the area would only make matters worse.

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