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Centre at Hagerstown developers may move access road

September 12, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Centre at Hagerstown officials have proposed moving a planned entry road so it will not wrap around six Swann Road houses.

"We think it's great. ... If it had wrapped around the house, it would have been pretty hard to accept," said Carolyn Dietrich, of 17538 Swann Road.

The Dietrichs own one of six homes that could have ended up on a median strip between U.S. 40 and the proposed four-lane entry road for the $40 million shopping center.

Thirteen families in the area along U.S. 40 just west of the U.S. 40-Interstate 81 interchange hired a lawyer, Roger Schlossberg, to fight the development. The shopping center would be built on about 79 acres northwest of the interchange.

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The shopping center's developer, Petrie Dierman Kughn, now proposes building a five-lane entry road east of the homes, said Phillip L. Ross, the firm's director.

The firm changed its plan after partner Walter Petrie met with area residents about a month ago to discuss their concerns about the entry road, according to Ross and Dietrich.

Dietrich said state Sen. Donald F. Munson and Del. Robert A. McKee arranged the meeting.

McKee said the residents asked him and Munson to get involved because they don't want the shopping center built there, but if they have to live with it they want the entry road to their east.

McKee said he and Munson met with Petrie and the firm's attorney, Kent Oliver, on July 16 to ask him to meet with residents again, which they did.

Earl Reynard, of 17550 Swann Road, said he's glad the entry road will not wrap around the homes, but still doesn't want the shopping center nearby because of the noise and traffic it will bring.

Reynard's house is the one farthest east on Swann Road and would be closest to the shopping center. The new proposed site for the entry road would be only 40 to 50 feet away from his home, he said.

Ross said the entry road originally was to be built east of the homes, but was moved west because Maryland State Highway Administration officials didn't want it so close to the interchange.

The State Highway Administration hasn't reviewed the latest preliminary design yet, said spokeswoman Valerie Edgar.

In June, Ron Burns, chief of the SHA's access permits division, said there were safety concerns with providing access from U.S. 40 as the developer had proposed.

Burns added that developing a shopping center on farmland goes against Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Smart Growth initiative, which encourages development within cities.

McKee said as long as the land was outside city limits it wouldn't qualify for access, but now it can since the city annexed the land on July 24.

The developer will have to pay the state the fair market value - $2 million - for the right to build an entry road off U.S. 40, McKee said.

The Hagerstown Planning Commission will consider the site plan for the shopping center at its 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall on Sept. 30, said Matt Davis, a city planner.

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