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Planner recused because his land affected

November 30, 2000

Planner recused because his land affected



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown Planning Commission is expected to discuss and possibly vote Dec. 13 on a controversial proposal to put a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Edgewood Drive, Matt Davis, a city planner, said Thursday.

The deliberations will be done without the participation of Planning Commission member David Lyles, who has been advised by the Washington County Ethics Commission to recuse himself from further actions on the proposal due to a conflict of interest.

Lyles, owner of David Lyles Developers in Hagerstown, and his family own property south of the site of the proposed store, which would be built along Edgewood Drive near Funkstown.

The two properties are separated by another property and Hebb Road.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, the Ethics Commission stated the proposed development would impact the value of the Lyles property and therefore David Lyles should "refrain from any such future participation in this matter."

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The Ethics Commission opinion was requested by Hagerstown Planning Director Ric Kautz on behalf of Lyles. Kautz requested the opinion after Pam Newhouse, head of the Funkstown Citizens' Coalition, wrote Lyles asking that he recuse himself from Planning Commission discussions of the proposed development.

The Funkstown Citizens' Coalition is a group formed in response to the proposed Wal-Mart.

Lyles did not attend a Wednesday night Planning Commission meeting on the development. About 90 people attended that meeting. Attempts to reach Lyles for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

The Planning Commission is considering a request from Wyatt Development Co. in Aiken, S.C., to put a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a smaller retail building on about 31.5 acres next to Twigg Cycles and down the road from the Hagerstown Commons shopping center.

The proposed development has drawn criticism, especially from Funkstown residents and town elected officials who fear a new Wal-Mart would dramatically increase the amount of traffic through their town.

Those sentiments were reiterated Wednesday night by Funkstown elected officials and area residents who spoke during the meeting.

The Planning Commission is accepting written comments on the proposed development until Dec. 9, Davis said.

Comments can be delivered or mailed to the commission at Hagerstown City Hall, 4th Floor, 1 E. Franklin St. Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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