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Bowman pulls truck plaza plan

June 21, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

D. M. Bowman Inc. has withdrawn, at least temporarily, its proposal to build a 9-acre fuel center to serve cars and trucks near Williamsport.

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The proposal had been on the agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals. Opponents of the proposal had planned to speak against the project.

The proposal was withdrawn at the request of Robert M. Johnson, senior project manager for Davis, Renn & Associates of Hagerstown, which drafted plans for the project.

"This request is based on the fact that additional time is needed to prepare for the hearing," Johnson wrote in a letter delivered to the county Wednesday.

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The proposal is for construction of a fuel stop/truck plaza at the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Md. 63 and 68 and Interstate 81. Plans called for it to be built on 9.1 acres zoned highway interchange 1.

The project would include a convenience store, a car wash and about 150 parking spaces, including 75 for trucks.

Local resident Toni Shrader had been going door-to-door telling residents in the area about the proposal and urging them to attend the meeting and call elected officials.

About 100 people showed up for the meeting because they had not heard the proposal was withdrawn.

Shrader said Wednesday residents were organizing and collecting phone numbers outside the meeting to ensure that if the proposal is resubmitted they will be ready.

While they hope Bowman will change his mind about the project, they expect his company will try again later.

"This is a temporary thing," she said.

"It is a trick to wear us down," said Ruth Hensley, who lives near the site of the proposed stop.

Opponents were distributing a one-page flyer saying, in part, "The only chance we have of stopping this truck stop and the high density development that will certainly follow is your continued participation. Please do not give up or allow them to believe that we will tire of this fight and fade away."

Bowman officials, including Chairman Donald M. Bowman, did not respond to phone messages Wednesday.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, was asking the Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to build the plaza.

CHIEF, which owns the land, has a contract to sell the property to Bowman, Merle Elliott, president of CHIEF, said earlier this month.

CHIEF filed the request to facilitate the process for Bowman, Eliott said.

Elliott said early Wednesday he was unaware the application had been withdrawn.

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