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Planners to review Wal-Mart proposal

December 12, 2000

Planners to review Wal-Mart proposal



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


A controversial proposal to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Edgewood Drive near Funkstown is scheduled for review and a possible vote by the Hagerstown Planning Commission Wednesday.

Commission members are expected to review whether there are any conflicts with the proposed development and what is permitted on the property under zoning law.

The site is zoned C-2 commercial, but the commission may discuss whether the building should be on land zoned C-4 commercial.

Other issues expected to come up include the height of a proposed wall to go between the shopping plaza and the adjacent Funkstown Elementary School, and the impact of the development on traffic.

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The Planning Commission meeting will begin 7 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. It is open to the public but the public will not be able to testify during the meeting, Commission Chairman Douglas Wright said.

Wright said he would "really like" to vote Wednesday, "but I can't guarantee it."

He said he hasn't determined yet whether the proposed development is allowed in a C-2 commercial area. "If we find this is a development that should be in C-4 then we could vote to deny it," Wright said.

Commission member Jim Stone said the potential traffic impact and zoning designation are issues he's concerned about.

The development proposal calls for a roughly 200,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter, plus another 30,000-square-foot retail building on about 31.5 acres on Edgewood Drive in Hagerstown and near the Funkstown line.

Wyatt Development Co., which is based in Aiken S.C., proposed the plan.

At the last Planning Commission meeting on the Wal-Mart proposal, Hagerstown attorney William C. Wantz, who is representing Wyatt, said the C-2 zoning does not limit the size of a building one can put in an area with that zoning.

Wantz also said the City Planning Department staff knew the size of the proposed development and recommended the C-2 zoning to the developer during the rezoning process in 1999.

Hagerstown's C-4 zoning designation is for a "regional shopping center ... which contains at least 200,000 square feet of rentable space," according to the City Code.

Stone said he's concerned the C-4 zoning designation may have been created just for regional shopping centers.

"Otherwise, what's the point of if you could have done that in C-2 all along," Stone said.

The last commission meeting on the proposal drew about 90 spectators, many of whom were Funkstown area residents who oppose the project.

Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline said Monday he will fight the proposed development "to the last." Kline said he has spoken with people about the possibility of appealing a Planning Commission ruling in Washington County Circuit Court.

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