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Annexation leaves access road in air

July 28, 1998

The City of Hagerstown grew by 417 acres last Friday.

The annexation of land near the Interstate 81-U.S. 40 interchange on the west side became official on Friday, said Deborah Everhart, the city's economic development coordinator.

Whether the annexation will help plans for an access road to a $40 million shopping center is still to be determined.

Many residents in the area are opposed to the proposed four-lane access road, which would wrap around several homes on Swann Road.

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A proposed site plan for the shopping center might be considered by the Hagerstown Planning Commission on Aug. 12, Everhart said. The commission meets at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Everhart said no changes in the access road have been proposed. The Maryland State Highway Administration is reviewing the proposed site plan to see if it meets Smart Growth criteria, she said.

In June, the chief of the highway administration's access permits division said the office's official policy is to not allow access from U.S. 40 as the developer has proposed.

In addition to safety concerns, developing a shopping center on farmland goes against Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Smart Growth initiative, which encourages development within cities.

Several residents near the proposed Centre at Hagerstown have hired attorney Roger Schlossberg to fight the access road's location.

Schlossberg couldn't be reached on Monday, but his assistant, Brett Wilson, said they have not decided yet whether to challenge the access road in court.

The project is still in the review stages so construction cannot begin yet, Wilson said.

Phillip L. Ross, the director of the company developing the shopping center, said he hopes construction will begin this October.

Ross, director of Petrie Dierman Kughn, said he was not ready to announce any store names.

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