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After visit from mayor, Groh cuts hedge

March 26, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

After years of complaints, citations, and court appearances, all it took to end the city's battle with Hagerstown landowner Vincent Groh over an overgrown hedge was a visit from the mayor.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II sat down with Groh on Tuesday. By Wednesday, Groh had some of his workers trimming the hedge at the corner of Oak Hill Avenue and North Potomac Street.

"We could have settled this years ago if Wally McClure had just come and talked to me," Groh said, referring to City Councilman J. Wallace McClure who took a personal interest in Groh's hedge.

"I'm not too much of an ogre. I can get along with people," Groh said.

McClure said he never went to see Groh because he didn't think it would have accomplished anything.

"I saw him ignore citations from code enforcement officers so I thought it's pointless for me to go see him," McClure said.

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"I tried to channel my concern through the proper channels," he said.

McClure said that from now on if he has a concern about a specific property he will first try to contact the landowner.

McClure had argued that the hedge in front of 603 Oak Hill Ave. was a safety hazard for pedestrians who would be forced to walk in the road because the hedge nearly covered the sidewalk.

On Nov. 5, 1997, Groh went to court over a citation from the city regarding the hedge. At that time, Washington County District Court Judge Noel Spence fined Groh $1 and suggested he trim the hedge.

Last fall, the city cited Groh for failing to remove trash from the hedge along the sidewalk.

Groh said he chose to comply with the city's requests because the mayor made a personal appeal to him.

He hopes this will take the city's attention away from him.

"This takes one more quiver out of their bow they want to aim at me," Groh said.

McClure said both Groh and Bruchey should be applauded for resolving the situation.

"This is something we can all live with," McClure said. "I'm very happy with the whole thing."

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