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Feasibility study sought for business park

August 20, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

A feasibility study is needed to determine whether it's worth developing a 69-acre lot near Interstate 81 into a new business park for the city of Hagerstown, officials said Tuesday.

The land includes a proposed site for a minor league baseball stadium, which would limit the number of lots that could be developed to about eight, said Deborah Everhart, the city's economic development coordinator.

"Realistically, you're looking at six to eight lots, not a great number of lots," Everhart said. The city's business park off South Burhans Boulevard is almost full.

The proposal for the West End Business Park is not tied to having a new ballpark, said John Howard, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

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Howard said developing the business park would help boost city and county tax bases. The land is in a prime location with easy access, he said.

City officials said they were not considering an industrial park so close to a residential neighborhood, but a park for offices and possibly light manufacturing.

The land, owned by Vincent Groh, is zoned for one or two family homes and has an agricultural use now, Everhart said.

Changing the zoning to allow a business park could require a 100-foot buffer zone between the park and neighboring residences, she told Hagerstown and Washington County officials during a joint meeting on Tuesday.

County Commissioner John S. Shank said that buffer zone would have to be reduced to make the park more feasible.

Shank told city officials the commissioners were not proposing the business park, but that didn't mean they didn't support it.

When Merle Elliott with the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation was asked if the group would conduct a feasibility study, Elliott asked if the governments would fund the study.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said funding would be considered.

Access to the business park could be off Salem Avenue and Marshall Street, officials said.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said a connector road between Pennsylvania Avenue and the West End would be needed if a business park were developed in the West End.

Should that happen, Everhart said businesses could be required to plant trees and shrubbery to screen their buildings.

The city's Planning Department also is exploring the possibility of a business park for high-tech jobs near Interstate 70 on the east side of the city, Everhart said.

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