City engineer may advise approval for Wal-Mart

November 02, 2000

City engineer may advise approval for Wal-Mart

By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

A controversial plan to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Edgewood Drive may go to the Hagerstown Planning Commission at the end of the month with the support of the city engineer.


City Engineer Bruce Johnston said Thursday he expects to recommend the commission approve the plan if the development company sets aside about $340,000 for Funkstown road and intersection improvements.

Johnston said the $340,000 from the developer would pay to put a traffic signal at the one-lane bridge in Funkstown, extend some turn lanes, and widen parts of some roads in and around downtown Funkstown.

Funkstown officials have expressed opposition to those intersection and road improvements. But Johnston said by setting aside the money, if Funkstown officials change their minds in the future the money would be available to pay for the improvements.


"The developer tried to do everything they can do. And they could mitigate (the traffic problems) but are being told 'no,'" Johnston said.

"So then the question is, 'Does that denial (by Funkstown) constitute a reason for denial of the project or has the developer tried to mitigate the impact (of the project)?'

"That the planning commission will have to decide," Johnston said.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter is being proposed by Wyatt Development Co., which is based in Aiken, S.C.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to discuss the Wal-Mart proposal during a Nov. 29 meeting in Hagerstown City Hall.

The commission is considering whether to approve a site plan for the development, and could make a decision during that meeting.

Some Funkstown residents and town elected officials have adamantly opposed the Wal-Mart, saying their town can't handle the increased traffic it would attract.

They say the development highlights the need for the long-discussed Funkstown bypass, which is now being called Southern Boulevard. That road would go north of Funkstown, diverting traffic that currently goes through the town's downtown.

Hagerstown's Mayor and City Council recently agreed a multi-jurisdictional committee should be established to study such a road.

The Wal-Mart proposal contains no plans for a bypass or Southern Boulevard.

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