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Antietam project not on commission agenda

September 30, 2000

Antietam project not on commission agenda



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


A proposed Civil War museum and gift shop in a historic home on Antietam National Battlefield is not on the agenda for Monday's meeting of the Washington County Planning Commission.

Opponents of the project were planning to attend the hearing. The Sharpsburg mayor and Town Council rescheduled their regular meeting for Oct. 9 so they could attend the meeting. That town meeting will remain rescheduled.

Planning Director Robert Arch said Thursday the proposal won't go to the Planning Commission until the Washington County Historic District Commission signs off on the idea. The project's detailed site plan has also not been submitted yet to the Planning Commission, he said.

Stephen Goodrich, county senior planner, said the project will not be on the historic commission's agenda until its Nov. 1 meeting because needed written information was not available in time to put it on the agenda for next week's meeting. The earliest it will be on the planning commission agenda is Nov. 6.

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No public hearings are planned for the project at those meetings. It will be up to the members of the two commissions whether to allow public comment on the project at those meetings, Arch said.

The Historic District Commission has to vote whether the project is compatible with other properties in the area, Arch said.

The Planning Commission must decide whether to approve the project's site plan, which includes a seven-space parking lot, Arch said.

Civil War enthusiast William Chaney, who lives in Lothian, Md., wants to open the gift shop in the historic pre-Civil War home he is having restored to look as it did in September 1862.

The 18422 Shepherdstown Pike home is on property known as the Newcomer Farm, which is within the legislative boundaries of Antietam National Battlefield, but isn't on the core of the battlefield, said Battlefield Superintendent John Howard.

Arch said the use of the house for a gift shop had been approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Sharpsburg Councilwoman Denise Troxell and some other residents are opposing the commercial business because of concerns it will set a bad precedent and create constant traffic on Md. 34.

Save Historic Antietam Foundation also is opposed to the gift shop because its members don't want a commercial development on the battlefield.

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