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Councilwoman questions timing of hearing on CSX zoning request

August 27, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said Tuesday she wasn't sure it was an appropriate time for the council to consider a CSX Corp. rezoning request because of "contentious" negotiations on the roundhouse complex.

Saum-Wicklein said Wednesday she wanted to make it clear that city officials will be fair and impartial in making a decision on the rezoning request.

During Tuesday night's regular meeting of the mayor and City Council, she asked City Attorney Mark Boyer to determine the appropriateness of the timing.

The city and CSX could not agree on terms for the city to buy the 46-acre roundhouse property along South Burhans Boulevard to prevent the railroad complex from being demolished. Crews are removing asbestos and lead paint from several of the buildings in preparation for demolition.

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CSX Real Property Inc. Director Kevin Hurley said he had no comment about Saum-Wicklein's concern.

She raised the issue after a presentation for a Tuesday public hearing on the rezoning.

CSX wants 14.3 acres of residentially zoned land on the south side of Wesel Boulevard rezoned for commercial use.

Hurley said CSX tried to market the land for residential use, but two interested developers said no after the state refused to give them tax credits for the projects.

The Hagerstown Planning Commission has recommended the zoning be changed based on a mistake in zoning the land residential and a change in the neighborhood.

Hurley said the nature of retail development has changed. The businesses that would locate on Wesel Boulevard are not the same type that would go downtown.

If they can't build on Wesel Boulevard, the city could lose the taxes they would generate to an area outside the city, he said.

Hurley said he didn't have any specific businesses for the land yet.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the council probably will discuss the rezoning during the Sept. 8 work session.

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