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Sharpsburg towing business concerns council

January 12, 2001

Sharpsburg towing business concerns council



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


SHARPSBURG - The Sharpsburg Town Council is concerned about a proposed business south of town, a towing service that would store vehicles.

It's the vehicle storage component of the business that concerns council members, said Mayor Sid Gale. The council asked Gale at its Jan. 8 meeting to write a letter to the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals expressing its concerns.

The council wants to know what protections exist to prevent the proposed storage yard at 4509 Harpers Ferry Road from becoming a blight, Gale said.

If the owner just wants to store vehicles there up to five days, that's probably OK, Gale said. But town officials don't want the property to become a junk yard.

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Property owner John Allen Otzelberger Jr. could not be reached for comment, but the case file at the Washington County Administration Building states he would expect about five towings a month. It did not state how many vehicles could be stored there or for how long.

The towing service would help the National Park Service, Washington County Sheriff's Department, Maryland State Police and other vehicle breakdowns in the area, according to the zoning request filed Nov. 30, 2000.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will hear Otzelberger's request for a special exception to allow the business within agricultural zoning at its 7 p.m. meeting on Wednesday.

The property is on the east side of Harpers Ferry Road, almost a mile south of Sawmill Road, according to the case file at the Washington County Department of Permits and Inspections.

Otzelberger wants a variance from the three-acre minimum and 50-foot rear and side yard setbacks, according to the case file. He is asking the board to allow the business on a 2.08-acre lot with 10-foot setbacks.

In his filing, Otzelberger cited rock outcroppings and steep topography as hardship and the need for a special exception.

Councilwoman Denise Troxell said she is concerned about possible hazardous runoff since the property is near Antietam Creek.

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