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Anti-cruising law set to take effect

October 24, 2000

Anti-cruising law set to take effect



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Drivers probably will have until near the end of the year to cruise downtown Hagerstown.

A new anti-cruising law is on pace to go into effect Dec. 29.

The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to introduce the anti-cruising law. A final vote on the law is expected Nov. 28.

The law would prohibit cruising along East Franklin and East Washington streets between Potomac Street and Cleveland Avenue from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Cruising is defined as driving past a point in the designated area three or more times during a two-hour period. Those caught cruising could be fined as much as $250.

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As written, the law would expire Oct. 1, 2002.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner voted against the proposed law.

Metzner has said he opposes the law because it seems to ban a legal activity in an attempt to catch criminals. He has said he would prefer to find other ways to discourage people from cruising around downtown.

One reason Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has given for needing the law is because those cruising the streets provide good cover for those in the market for illegal drugs.

Bruchey has also said the law will improve the quality of life for downtown residents by eliminating or reducing the noise from cruisers.

Councilman William M. Breichner said Tuesday he "seriously questions" whether the anti-cruising law is needed.

Breichner said he would vote for the measure because it will expire.

Including a sunset clause in the law was Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein's idea.

If the law doesn't work it will expire on its own. If the law works the council can make it permanent, Saum-Wicklein has said.

The proposed Hagerstown law is modeled after a Chambersburg, Pa., anti-cruising ordinance.

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