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More than 100 turn out for Fox Deceived hearing

August 24, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A second public hearing on aspects of an annexation and rezoning request for 36.7 acres of farmland along Mount Aetna Road near Hagerstown again drew more than 100 people to City Hall.

Almost all those who crowded Council Chambers Tuesday night seemed to be against a proposal to build 230 housing units in duplexes, triplexes and quads on the property, known as the former Fox Deceived Plantation and the Miller farm.

Of the 12 people who made public comments, only a representative of the developer spoke in favor of the plan.

As was the case during a May public hearing, most who spoke said they feared the development would increase traffic, overcrowd schools and decrease property values.

Most said they were in favor of the issue being considered - that the rezoning request be changed so the underlying zoning designation for the property, if annexed into the city, be R-1 residential instead of R-2 residential.

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Property owner Triad Properties, and the developer, a group headed by Hagerstown builder Wes Churchey, originally asked that the property have an underlying zoning designation of R-2 residential.

They changed their request after most City Council members said they would support the development with an underlying R-1 residential zoning designation on the property.

Townhouses would not be permitted under the more restrictive R-1 residential zoning designation.

The underlying zoning designation would become effective if the proposed 230-unit development, which is being considered separately, is not done.

William C. Wantz, a Hagerstown lawyer representing some of those living near the farmland, said the city could not consider the development proposal until the land is annexed. He said that the city cannot go ahead with the rezoning without the consent of the Washington County Commissioners, who tried to block the proposed rezoning.

Wantz also said a City Council vote could be appealed in the courts.

After the hearing, Churchey said the development would be less dense than permitted under an R-1 residential zoning designation.

A council vote on the annexation and rezoning request is expected on Sept. 28.

Written testimony can be submitted within 10 days to the City Clerk's Office, City Hall Room 200, 1 E. Franklin St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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