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Land may be zoned commercial

December 04, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Almost 64 acres of land along Wesel Boulevard could be available for commercial development if Hagerstown officials approve two rezonings and an annexation.

The 64-acre site would be an attractive location for commercial development, said William Wantz, attorney for the estate of C. Richard Startzman, one of the landowners.

The site is east of the former Lowe's and Nationwide Insurance on the south side of Wesel Boulevard. It is about the same size as the commercial space from the former Lowe's to Kmart.

CSX Corp. recently received approval, on a 3-2 vote by the City Council, for a rezoning of 14.3 acres along the south side of Wesel Boulevard for commercial use.

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Now CSX and the Startzman family are asking for more rezonings and an annexation on the south side of Wesel Boulevard that could result in the large block of commercially zoned land.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure, who voted against the last CSX rezoning, said Thursday he wants some residential zoning to remain along Wesel Boulevard so moderate residential houses could be built for first-time home buyers.

McClure said he fears fad shopping, where a shopping center becomes trendy for a few years until another one is built and then the previous one falls apart.

He said he doesn't understand where the shoppers for all the proposed shopping centers in Hagerstown and Washington County will come from.

CSX Real Property Director Kevin Hurley has said CSX tried to market land along Wesel Boulevard for residential use, but two interested developers said no after the state refused to give them tax credits for the projects.

The Washington County Planning Commission will review the rezoning requests next Wednesday at its 7 p.m. meeting in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

CSX is asking the city to rezone 7.6 acres from residential use to commercial use.

The Startzman family is asking the city to rezone 4.4 acres from industrial to commercial.

The family also has petitioned the city to annex 37.5 acres behind the land that fronts Wesel Boulevard.

City Council members have voted to introduce a law permitting the annexation.

A public hearing on the proposed annexation will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12 in City Hall before the council votes in January whether to adopt the annexation, said Matt Davis, a city planner. The annexation would become effective 45 days later.

When that land is officially annexed, its zoning will change from industrial zoning in the county to commercial general as the land becomes part of the city, officials said.

Hurley said in June that the Startzman family and CSX will work together to develop the family's land. He said CSX could buy the land from the family or the two could market their Wesel Boulevard land together for development.

Hurley could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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