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Comment barred at Mount Aetna meeting

March 29, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Hagerstown Planning Commission heard a staff report on a controversial residential development along Mount Aetna Road Wednesday but took no action or public comment.

The Mount Aetna proposal is to turn 36.7 acres of farmland into a 195-unit residential development called Greenwich Park. Last year the property was the subject of a controversial rezoning and annexation into Hagerstown, drawing protesting neighbors to City Hall.

About 50 people attended Wednesday's meeting but some were there to hear about a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built along Edgewood Drive.

Planning Commission Chairman Douglas S. Wright Jr. began the meeting by saying no public testimony would be taken on either topic. He said he appreciates receiving opinions and feedback by mail, but asked that people not telephone to share their opinions.

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Allan Powell, a critic of the development, raised his hand several times in an effort to speak, but he was not called upon.

When he asked to speak, Wright repeated that public comments were not being taken at the meeting but that people could speak at a later meeting.

When Powell persisted, Wright asked Powell twice, "Do you want to leave?" before Powell gave up.

After the meeting Wright said he knows neighbors will miss the farmland but that he feels housing is the appropriate use for the land, he said.

The property is surrounded by the Brightwood Acres, Londontowne and Fairway Meadows subdivisions.

The Churchey Group II, the development group that submitted the plan, plans to build 32 homes in the first phase of the project.

Jim Stone, who is a partner in the group but also a member of the Planning Commission, excused himself from the discussion Wednesday.

The development plan calls for 35 fewer housing units than were in the original plan and does not include commercial space. The houses built would be duplexes instead of the quads, triplexes and duplexes originally proposed.

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