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Neighbors object to demolition burning

February 22, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

HALFWAY - Approximately a dozen people complained about the legal burning of debris at the former Wayside Inn on Tuesday, according to the Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway.

None of the callers complained of having trouble breathing, but said the burning near homes was a nuisance, said Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Ringer.

Ringer said he referred the callers to the Washington County Health Department, which issued the permit.

Environmental Health Sanitarian David Barnhart said the permit application met its criteria, which included burning debris at least 200 feet from any habitable dwelling.

Barnhart said he received some inquiries about the burning at the former bar and grill at 17116 Virginia Ave., but no complaints.

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Ringer said firefighters supervising the burning put out the second pile of debris, which was further back from the road, around 1:30 p.m. after the wind shifted and it generated too much smoke.

The contractor, Albany Demolition, received a permit to burn wood and debris broken down into small piles, said Doug DeHaven, one of two firefighters supervising the burning.

The permit also required firefighters to supervise. The contractor will make a donation to the fire company for its services, Ringer said.

Albany Demolition Supervisor Jack Merrbaugh said burning the wood and debris saves landfill space and saves money with smaller tipping fee costs.

DeHaven said the contractor's crew was pulling items that weren't allowed to be burned out of the front-end loader before piling the rest of the debris on the fires.

On Tuesday morning the white smoke did not appear to be reaching nearby homes or Hickory Elementary School.

Crews tore down the 4,000-square-foot concrete and wood building more than a week ago, Merrbaugh said.

The former Wayside Inn had been closed for more than a year.

Hagerstown real estate developer Richard Cooper bought the land and plans to open a nautical theme restaurant and ice cream parlor there in June, according to the Washington County Economic Development Commission.

Cooper could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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