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Store's impact on town studied

March 30, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Traffic through Funkstown has increased by about 50 percent in the last 10 years and Hagerstown planners are trying to find a way to minimize further traffic increases from a nearby proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter, City Planner Ric Kautz said Wednesday.

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City, county and state planners are scheduled to meet today to discuss a traffic study done for the 208,720-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built along Edgewood Drive between Twigg Cycles and Funkstown, Kautz told the Hagerstown Planning Commission Wednesday.

The study tried to determine the store's impact on 15 local intersections but planners may ask for additional research to be done to address potential traffic problems, Kautz said.

Plans for the store call for it to have two entrances, one with a traffic signal, off Edgewood Drive, Kautz said.

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About 50 people attended the meeting but they were not allowed to speak. They will get a chance to speak at a later meeting, Planning Commission Chairman Doug Wright said.

The purpose of the meeting was for the Planning Commission to obtain information about the proposal, not to take public testimony, he said.

But Kautz and Wright said they know Funkstown residents feel that too much traffic already goes through their town.

After the meeting, Wright said the solution to traffic problems isn't to deny Wal-Mart permission to build but rather to build a bypass around Funkstown. He said, however, it is unknown how a bypass would be funded.

"Funkstown is already overcrowded," Wright said.

George Wheelock, who is on the Funkstown Board of Zoning Appeals, agreed.

"We can't take any more traffic," he said. He said he believes the traffic increase in 10 years has been even more than 50 percent.

The Funkstown Mayor and Town Council and Funkstown Planning Commission sent a letter earlier this month to the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council asking that new development be postponed until a bypass to divert traffic around downtown Funkstown has been built.

For years, local officials have discussed a Funkstown bypass, which would run north of Funkstown and connect Edgewood Drive near U.S. 40 in Hagerstown to Oak Ridge Drive west of Funkstown. But there are no present plans to build a bypass.

While a possible alignment for a bypass has been studied, it has not been determined how it would be built or who would pay for it, Kautz told the Hagerstown Planning Commission.

The Wal-Mart would anchor a 31.5-acre development that would include a 30,260-square-foot building for retail stores, two spaces for future commercial development, three storm water management ponds and 1,200 parking spaces, according to plans submitted to the city Planning Department.

The plan, which also includes a new road along the property, has to be approved by the Hagerstown Planning Commission before the developers can apply for a building permit.

Under current plans, the developers would build a new road along the property line next to Twigg Cycles. The road would go to the end of their property line and head toward, but not connect with, Hebb Road.

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