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Rezoning proposal draws neighbors' ire

March 27, 2001

Rezoning proposal draws neighbors' ire



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

A proposed rezoning of farmland at the intersection of Eastern Boulevard and Potomac Avenue in Hagerstown drew strong opposition from several neighbors of the property.

During a Tuesday public hearing at City Hall, five men testified against the request to rezone the property for commercial uses.

The property has an agricultural zoning classification. The property owner, Richard Hopkins, said Tuesday he wants to put a CVS Pharmacy on the land. The property of about 3.6 acres is across from the Long Meadow Shopping Center.

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The City Planning Commission voted March 14 to recommend the council approve the request based on a mistake in the original zoning.

Rezonings must be based either on a change to the neighborhood or a mistake in the original zoning.

Representatives for the property owner said Tuesday that the area around the property has undergone significant changes over the years including, the construction of Eastern Boulevard, improvements to the intersection of Eastern Boulevard and Potomac Avenue, and three rezonings of nearby property.

They also said it was a mistake to zone the land agricultural originally, because of the growth trends for that intersection.

Those testifying against the rezoning said the area has too much traffic to accommodate another commercial development and the neighborhood has not undergone a significant change.

One man said he suspected this rezoning request is being rushed through the approval process so the current group of council members can vote on it before leaving office. A new council will be sworn in May 28.

The audience applauded after each man testified against the zoning change.

The 3.6 acres is part of a larger tract that was the subject of rezoning requests in 1977 and 1998. Those requests, which were also to change the zoning classification to commercial, were both turned down by the City Council.

The council could discuss the rezoning request during an April 10 or April 17 meeting, and a first council vote on the matter could be taken April 24, said City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman. Two council votes are required for rezonings.

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