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Comprehensive plan draws little interest

May 18, 2001

Comprehensive plan draws little interest



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Only one citizen spoke Thursday at the first of 18 town meetings on the revised Washington County Comprehensive Plan.

"I expected a few more," Planning Director Robert Arch said after the meeting.

"It is a shame more people did not come," said the lone speaker, Jim Laird of Hagerstown. Laird said he thought holding town meetings was a good idea.

A second person attended but did not speak and left as soon as the meeting ended.

The meeting was intended to generate comments from the public on the revised draft of the comprehensive plan, which was released Tuesday night and made available to the public Wednesday.

The Comprehensive Plan lays the groundwork for the county over the next 20 years, especially in areas of land use, growth management policy, roads, sewers and sensitive environmental areas.

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Two planning department members provided a verbal summary of the report.

When the public was invited to speak, Laird expressed frustration about a lack of forest conservation by a developer in his part of the county. Laird said he lives in Brightwood Acres on the east end of Hagerstown.

He said he did not like the way the 1991 Maryland Forest Conservation Act was being enforced.

He thought the act required developers destroying forest land to plant more in that specific area of the city.

But instead, a nearby developer was able to plant trees along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, he said.

Town meetings will be held at various county locations every Tuesday and Thursday through July 17. Information from comments at the 18 public meetings will be used to make changes to the plan, Arch said.

The next meeting will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Sharpsburg Town Hall, 135 W. Main St. in Sharpsburg.

Written comments will be accepted through July. They can be sent to the Planning Department, Room 320, County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St.

Copies of the 116-page executive summary are available on weekdays at the Planning Department.

The county first adopted a comprehensive plan in 1971, and adopted a new plan in 1981. The present draft of the plan is a revision of the 1981 plan.

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