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Mt. Aetna rezoning, annexation appealed

December 22, 2000

Mt. Aetna rezoning, annexation appealed



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


A Washington County Circuit Court ruling upholding the annexation and rezoning of almost 37 acres along Mount Aetna Road in Hagerstown has been sent to the state Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis.

A group of 21 neighbors to the property are seeking to overturn Judge Fred C. Wright III's Nov. 14 decision, which was seen as a victory for the developer who owns the property.

Wright ruled that the City of Hagerstown acted properly in zoning the property R-1, because the residential zoning does not permit substantially different uses for the property than the uses outlined in the Washington County master plan.

Wright also ruled the annexation of the property into Hagerstown was valid.

Both the annexation and the rezoning were challenged in a suit filed collectively by 63 neighbors of the annexed property. The 21 appealing Wright's decision are among the original 63 who filed suit.

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The proposed development for the site calls for building 194 units on the former farm. Two of the housing units would be single-family homes and the rest duplexes.

Neighbors have said they fear the development will lead to increased traffic and hurt the value of nearby properties.

William C. Wantz, a Hagerstown attorney representing the neighbors in this case, said no hearing date has been set for the appeal.

Jim Stone, a Hagerstown attorney and partner in Churchey Group II, which is proposing to develop the property, said about the appeal, "It's a shame. I think the judge decided the thing correctly."

The two sides are expected to meet again in circuit court over a challenge to the Hagerstown Planning Commission's approval of development plans for the property, which is surrounded by the Brightwood Acres, Londontowne and Fairway Meadows subdivisions.

In May, the Planning Commission approved the overall development plan and the first phase of development, which is the construction of 32 units, all duplexes.

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