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Residents air concerns about centre at Hagerstown

November 19, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Swann Road residents met with a Centre at Hagerstown developer on Wednesday to air concerns about noise from the planned $50 million shopping center.

Developer Walt Petrie said his firm will build a berm with a wooden fence on top to cut down on noise from the neighboring shopping center.

The shopping center will be built on about 79 acres northwest of the interchange for Interstate 81 and U.S. 40, next to the residential Swann Road.

The 36-foot-wide berm will be 24 feet from the closest neighbors, the Reynards at 17550 Swann Road, officials said.

The exit road from the shopping center to U.S. 40 is at some points only 12 to 15 feet from Swann Road.

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"These are our homes. We live here. If you lived here, would you want this?" Paul Hecker asked Petrie. Hecker said if he had the money, he would fight the development.

When a neighbor asked if Petrie Dierman Kughn, of McLean, Va., was still willing to buy the six homes closest to the development, Petrie said it had to be all or none.

The firm will pay to hook up the six homes to city water and sewer, Petrie said. They have wells and septic systems now.

Petrie said his firm will do what it can, within reason, to reduce sound pollution for the neighbors.

The berm could be 81/2 feet high with a 6-foot-high wooden fence surrounded by trees, said Keith Moore, project engineer with Frederick Seibert & Associates Inc.

Work on the shopping center is expected to start on Jan. 15 so the shopping center can open by April 2000, Petrie said. Anchor stores in the center will include Wal-Mart Supercenter, Home Depot, Border's Books & Music, Circuit City and Pier 1 Imports.

Hagerstown Planning Commission members approved a plan for the shopping center on Wednesday night by a 4-0 vote, said Matt Davis, a city planner.

The developer needs to satisfy the Maryland State Highway Administration and Washington County, he said.

Commission member Jim Stone abstained because his law partner, Kent Oliver, is the developer's attorney, Davis said. Members Alfred W. Boyer and Fred Nugent were absent.

The State Highway Administration has approved a plan for access off U.S. 40, but hasn't issued an access permit, said John Wolford with SHA.

The developer needs to improve the ramp from eastbound U.S. 40 to southbound Interstate 81 to allow two lanes that will merge into one as it approaches the interstate, officials said.

The access road on the other side of the berm will be six lanes wide with three exiting left-turn lanes, two of which will allow drivers to exit onto southbound Interstate 81, officials said.

Northbound Interstate 81 between the U.S. 40 ramps will need to be widened by four feet and southbound Interstate 81 also might need widening, Wolford said.

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