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Funkstown to fight appeal of developer

February 14, 2001

Funkstown to fight appeal of developer



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


FUNKSTOWN - The Town of Funkstown will fight the appeal of a South Carolina developer whose plans to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter were turned down by the Hagerstown Planning Commission, according the town's mayor.

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Mayor Robert L. Kline said it's necessary to follow through to make sure the historic town remains intact.

"It'll bring in too much traffic," said Kline.

The Planning Commission in December turned down plans submitted by Wyatt Development Co. of Aiken, S.C., to build a roughly 200,000-square-foot Wal-Mart and a 30,000-square-foot retail building on 31.5 acres along Edgewood Drive in Hagerstown near the Funkstown line.

The Planning Commission's decision was based in part on a determination that the proposed development should be considered a regional shopping center and would be too large for a C-2 commercial zoning district, which is what the property is zoned.

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The commission determined the project is instead suited for property with a C-4 zoning designation.

The Wyatt Development Co. is appealing the Planning Commission's decision in Washington County Circuit Court.

Funkstown residents rallied against the developer, testifying before the Planning Commission that a Wal-Mart Supercenter would radically increase traffic and would have a negative impact on their historic town.

Funkstown attorney Robert Kuczynski said he would file a response to the appeal on behalf of the town and Kline.

A hearing on the matter might not be held for from six months to a year, he said.

Kuczynski said town residents who wish to make arguments against the proposed development should follow proper procedure and be represented by an attorney, who would write a brief on their behalf. He said several people could be represented by the same attorney.

"If it's done in the proper method it will get the judge's attention," he said.

No testimony will be taken during the hearing so a judge will rely on points made in briefs, he said.

Those interested have until around Feb. 18 to get their briefs filed, he said.

The Hagerstown City Council voted recently to defend the Planning Commission's decision to deny plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

John Urner, a city attorney, said the council could decide whether to intervene in the case on behalf of the Planning Commission or on behalf of the developer or they could decide not to intervene at all, in which case the Planning Commission's position would be unrepresented in court.

Urner recommended the council support the Planning Commission, in part because the case has significance for the rest of the city because what is allowed on property with a C-2 zoning designation is at issue.

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