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Development planned near Centre causes traffic worries

January 31, 2002

Development planned near Centre causes traffic worries



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


Traffic was the top concern residents raised Wednesday at a public hearing on a proposed 728-unit residential development for 164-acres behind the Centre at Hagerstown.

The Hager's Crossing development would have 203 single-family homes, 261 townhouses and 264 units in four-unit buildings called quadplexes, representatives for the Eldersburg, Md.-based development company, The Rachuba Group, told the Hagerstown Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Vehicle access to the development would be from the western edge of Garland Groh Boulevard, which is in front of the shopping center.

Although not part of the current plan submitted for city approval, The Rachuba Group plans eventually to build single-family homes to McDade Road, and put in a road to connect the development to McDade Road, said Steve Zoretich, vice president of Frederick Seibert & Associates in Hagerstown, the engineering firm on the project.

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In future phases, a road could be added to connect the development to Garland Groh Boulevard north of the shopping center, Zoretich said.

Of the 12 people who spoke at the hearing, 11 said they were worried the development would bring more traffic to the area. Five people said they were especially worried about connecting the development to McDade Road.

Another five people said the development would worsen traffic at the intersection of Broadfording Road and Garland Groh Boulevard.

Zoretich said Rachuba representatives will meet with city, state and Washington County officials to discuss traffic issues. He said the developer has no control over existing traffic problems.

Two people asked whether the development would increase flooding in the area.

Zoretich said proposed storm water management ponds would ensure that no more water runs off the property than does now.

After the testimony, Planning Commission members agreed to accept additional written public comments for 10 days. Comments may be sent to the Hagerstown Planning Department at City Hall, 1 E. Franklin St. Hagerstown, MD 21740.

In February, the commission will decide whether to recommend the City Council approve the plan, Deborah Everhart, city zoning administrator, said.

The City Council will hold another public hearing on the plan, possibly in March. It could vote on the plan in April, Everhart said.

The Rachuba Group needs council approval because it is seeking a special zoning designation for the property, which would allow the development to have single-family homes, townhouses and quadplexes, Everhart said.

Quadplexes are four-unit buildings in which each unit has a front door leading outside, Zoretich said.

Construction on the property, which is now mostly farmland and woods, could begin in the fall, said Rachuba owner Lawrence R. Rachuba.

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

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