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City Council to consider pared-down development

January 11, 2002

City Council to consider pared-down development



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


A scaled-back plan for a large residential development on almost 164 acres behind the Centre at Hagerstown could go to the Hagerstown City Council for approval in the spring.

A public hearing on the now 728-unit residential development is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Hagerstown City Hall.

The development, named Hager's Crossing, would be a mix of 203 single-family homes, 261 townhouses and 264 units in four-unit buildings called quadplexes, according to the plan submitted to the city by The Rachuba Group, a development company based in Eldersburg, Md.

Within 30 days of the Jan. 30 hearing, the City Planning Commission will decide whether to recommend the City Council approve the plan, said Deborah Everhart, city zoning administrator and economic development coordinator.

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The council will hold another public hearing on the plan, possibly around the end of March. The council could vote on the plan in April, Everhart said.

The Rachuba Group needs council approval because the company is seeking a special zoning designation called a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, overlay for the property. A PUD is needed because the development would include single-family homes, townhouses and the quadplexes, Everhart said.

In October, the company submitted plans for 936 residential units on the same property plus an adjacent parcel.

But the adjacent property is zoned agricultural, and city zoning laws prohibit PUDs on agricultural property.

The City Council is considering amending the zoning law to allow PUDs on agricultural land. But The Rachuba Group wants to get the development under way, not wait for council action on the pending amendment, said Steve Zoretich, vice president of Frederick Seibert & Associates in Hagerstown, the engineering firm on the project.

If the council approves the amendment, The Rachuba Group may return with a proposal to put single-family homes on the property, Zoretich said.

The revised plan does not have space for commercial development on the property. The original plan had set aside about 3 acres for commercial uses.

If the city approves the plan, work on readying the property for development, such as installing water and sewer lines and roads, could begin in May, Zoretich said.

Home construction on the property, which is now mostly farmland and woods, could begin in the fall, he said.

The lots for single-family homes and townhouses would be sold to builders. The quadplexes would be owned by The Rachuba Group and rented, Zoretich said.

Quadplexes are four-unit buildings in which each unit has a front door leading outside. The quadplexes probably would be built in 2003, he said.

Access to the development would be from an extension to the western end of Garland Groh Boulevard, which is the road in front of The Centre at Hagerstown.

Rachuba owner Lawrence R. Rachuba could not be reached for comment Thursday.

This would be Rachuba's second venture in Hagerstown. Rachuba is a partner in the firm Hagerstown Commons LLC, which developed the Hagerstown Commons shopping center at the corner of Edgewood Drive and Dual Highway.

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