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Clear Spring residents wary of rezoning plans

January 27, 1998

Clear Spring residents wary of rezoning plans

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Rezoning land around the Interstate 70-Md. 68 interchange to a commercial-industrial designation would threaten Clear Spring's "rural village" atmosphere, town residents opposed to the plan said Monday night.

"I can envision Clear Spring in the future being an ugly testimony of poor planning in the past," said Draper Road resident Art James, who said he thought the land should be rezoned Agricultural.

More than a dozen Clear Spring residents and business owners spoke out against the plan at a joint rehearing with the Washington County Commissioners and Planning Commission at the Washington County Courthouse.

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The area in dispute includes land owned by developer Vincent Groh and Bragunier Farms that would be rezoned Highway Interchange 1, which allows for commercial and industrial uses.

Groh has said he wants to keep some of his land in the commercial zone so he can build a small shopping center.

The County Commissioners in July 1997 rejected a previous Planning Commission recommendation, which called for Groh's property to be zoned for agricultural use.

At that time, the commissioners asked the county's planning staff to develop a revised plan that would consider property owners' wishes, according to Washington County Planning Director Robert C. Arch.

While no one spoke in favor of the new plan during the hearing Monday, more than a dozen people said they were against it.

Several elaborated as to why, including Dan Tedrick, who said he owns property adjacent to the Bragunier Farms' property.

"That's the field I played in as a child. I want my baby born in August to play in that field, not in a truck stop or something of that nature," said Tedrick, 23.

Kamlesh Vaswani said he traveled around the world and lived in different parts of the United States before moving to Clear Spring about two years ago for its "country atmosphere."

Vaswani, 40, owner of Clear Spring Liquors, said he's against the rezoning both as a resident and as a business owner.

Ken Snodderly, owner of The Valley Market on Old National Pike, said he's worried that a supermarket will be built at the interchange.

That would put him out of business and his 21 employees out of work, said Snodderly, 45.

The public has 10 days to submit written comments on the proposed plan, Arch said.

The Planning Commission will consider the hearing comments, probably at its March meeting, then make a recommendation to the County Commissioners, he said.

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