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County adopts revised goals for 2000

February 02, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday unanimously adopted a revised set of 2000 county goals to include adoption of a farming protection law.

At the suggestion of Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger, the commissioners added a ninth goal: "Adopt a right-to-farm ordinance."

The commissioners received enabling legislation in April 1999, during the last legislative session, allowing the county to craft the ordinance. But Assistant County Attorney John Martirano is still working on it.

He said Wednesday the first draft of a proposed ordinance should be ready for public discussion, and required public hearings, within three months.

"Certainly I am glad to hear that," Farm Bureau President Gerald Ditto said.

He expressed frustration that the ordinance had not been written in the year since the bureau approached the commissioners with the request.

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County Administrator Rodney Shoop said the county has been working on other projects but said the commissioners want to get this ordinance passed in the near future.

The ordinance ties in with the county's comprehensive plan and they wanted to get more work done on that before completing the farming ordinance, Shoop said.

The comprehensive plan lays the groundwork for Washington County over the next 20 years, especially in areas of land use, growth management policy, roads, sewers and sensitive environmental areas.

The ordinance is intended to shield farmers from frivolous complaints from neighbors.

The Washington County Farm Bureau had asked the commissioners to adopt the protections in light of anticipated growth.

Frederick County, Md., adopted a right-to-farm law in 1996 after receiving General Assembly approval.

The county's other goals, not necessarily in order of importance, are:

- Establish county urban revitalization initiatives.

- Develop final recommendations for the revised county Comprehensive Plan.

- Adopt a plan to transfer wastewater flows west of Hagerstown to the county's Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

- Transfer ownership of water service areas at Martin's Crossroad and Conococheague to the city of Hagerstown.

- Adopt and implement a formal debt management policy.

- Develop and adopt a comprehensive land use plan for Hagerstown Regional Airport and vicinity and begin a marketing plan for the airport.

- Resolve county government downtown space needs.

- Adopt a long-range plan for the Washington County Free Library system.

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