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Council splits on rezoning busy city corner

April 18, 2001

Council splits on rezoning busy city corner



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

A request to rezone about 3.6 acres at the corner of Potomac Avenue and Eastern Boulevard in Hagerstown has an uncertain future.

City Councilmen Lewis C. Metzner and William M. Breichner said Tuesday they opposed the request to rezone the property for commercial use.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said she favors changing the zoning of the farmland.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure was undecided. But "I'm ready to endorse it if I can justify a change in the neighborhood," McClure said.

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Councilman Alfred W. Boyer, who could be the tie-breaker, was not at the council meeting Tuesday.

The council is expected to take a first vote on the rezoning request Tuesday, April 24.

The property of about 3.6 acres is across from the Long Meadow Shopping Center. The land has an agricultural zoning classification.

The property owner, Richard Hopkins, said he wants to put a CVS Pharmacy on the land.

The City Planning Commission voted March 14 to recommend the council approve the rezoning 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.

Saum-Wicklein said she supports the rezoning based on a change to the neighborhood.

McClure said if he votes for the rezoning, it would be based on a change in the neighborhood.

Representatives for the property owner have said 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.

The rezoning request has drawn strong opposition from several neighbors of the property.

Five people testified against the rezoning during a public hearing last month. Some said the area has too much traffic to accommodate another commercial development and the neighborhood has not undergone a significant 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.

Councilman Metzner questioned whether the council could come to a different conclusion than it did in 1998.

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