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Proposed project grows to 169 units

December 08, 2000

Proposed project grows to 169 units



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer


WILLIAMSPORT - About 80 opponents of a proposed development heard Thursday night that the size of the project has increased.

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Former Washington County Commissioner R. Lee Downey and developer Marc Silverman are planning to build 169 housing units off Virginia Avenue, according to a current sketch plan.

When the project was discussed at a County Commissioners meeting last month, it included 159 units.

"What they've proposed is very socially uncomfortable," said Gary Baker of Donelson Drive, who is mobilizing the opposition effort.

He said Tammany Manor and Van Lear Manor residents should come out in force to meetings about the project so county officials and the developers will have "as many eyes on them as possible."

The latest version of the proposal includes 72 apartments, 55 town houses and 42 single-family homes on 27.7 acres east of Williamsport. Previously, Downey and Silverman were considering the same number of apartment units with 60 town house units and 27 single-family homes.

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Baker and Harry O. Myers Jr. of Tammany Manor Road led Thursday night's community meeting about the project at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. They told their neighbors about their meeting with Downey, Silverman and engineer Gerald A. Cump earlier in the day.

The developers and their engineer did not attend the community meeting.

People who spoke Thursday mentioned increased traffic, crowded school, noise and drainage problems as concerns.

"All we're asking developers to do is to be good neighbors," said Robert D. Hull, president of the Southwest Metropolitan Area Civic Association Inc. of Washington County, Md.

In October, Downey said he has a good track record in building. "I am going to do something that will be good for the citizens who need additional housing," he said.

On Thursday, Baker suggested ways that people can continue to protest, such as going to next month's county planning commission meeting if the project is discussed.

He said about 450 people have signed petitions against the project. Plans for a letter-writing campaign are underway.

Several people signed up to post signs in their front yards with messages such as "Do We Need More Traffic Congestion?" and "Smart Growth - Yes!, Overgrowth - No!"

Baker said he and other opponents have spent about $650 on 180 signs and $350 on other printing costs. Several people dropped $1 and $5 bills in a plastic jar to help defray the costs.

"It would thrill me to no end to have to order more signs," Baker said.

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