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Bowman again seeking OK for fuel center

January 25, 2001

Bowman again seeking OK for fuel center



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


D.M. Bowman Inc. will again seek approval to build a controversial 9-acre fuel center near Williamsport.

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Part of the proposal has already gone to the State Highway Administration because it calls for conversion of the existing road shoulders at Md. 68 and Md. 63 into additional traffic lanes.

The state has told the company it must modify its traffic study to better address the volume of traffic, State Highway Administration spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said.

The state has suggested that the company consider adding a left-turn lane along eastbound Md. 63 and another left-turn lane at northbound Md. 68 at Md. 63, Rakowski said. Also suggested were the addition of two lanes at an entrance to the proposed fuel center, she said.

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Bowman and state representatives met Wednesday and a letter was sent Thursday to the company and the Washington County engineering department, she said.

The project would require Washington County approval, she said.

For the company to obtain a special exception to operate a fuel center, the proposal would have to be the subject of a Washington Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing, Planning Director Robert Arch said.

In addition, the county Planning Commission would have to approve the project site plan, he said. The property is zoned highway interchange I.

Arch said he has not seen new information from Bowman about the proposal.

Fliers sent by project opponents say the project now includes an 83-room hotel and a restaurant across Md. 63.

Bowman Chairman Donald M. Bowman confirmed Thursday that the state is looking at the project, at the company's request.

The hotel at this point is a concept and there are no specific plans, he said. The number of rooms a hotel would have, if built, has not been determined, he said.

The proposal calls for construction of a fuel stop/truck plaza at the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Md. 63 and 68 and Interstate 81. Plans called for it to be built on 9.1 acres zoned highway interchange 1.

The project would include a convenience store, a car wash and about 150 parking spaces, including 75 for trucks.

When the project was proposed last year, Toni Shrader went door-to-door, telling residents in the area about it and urging them to attend meetings to fight the construction.

"This is a dangerous, ill-conceived plan," she said Thursday.

Bowman said he has no problem with opponents speaking against the project.

"They have the right to be opposed to it," Bowman said.

He said he disagreed with opponents' assertion that it would pose a safety problem.

Shrader and others have scheduled a meeting for Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. to inform the public that the project is again in the works and to solicit input for strategies to fight it. The meeting will be held at the Old Downsville School, across from the Downsville General Store.

The group also plans a letter-writing campaign aimed at state and county elected officials.

The proposal was on the agenda for a June meeting of the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals, but was withdrawn before the meeting began. Opponents of the proposal had planned to speak against the project, and about 100 people turned out for the meeting.

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