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Town plans to fight 990-unit complex

February 12, 2002

Town plans to fight 990-unit complex



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


Claiming it would have effects worse than Wal-Mart, Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline said Monday night that the town plans to fight a proposed 990-unit housing development off Mount Aetna Road.

The proposed development on 221 acres across from Black Rock Golf Course would have 217 single-family homes, 70-semi-detached two-family homes, 223 townhouses and 480 condominium units, according to county planning documents. Those numbers may change during the planning process.

The Funkstown Town Council discussed the proposed housing units at its regular meeting.

Kline said the impact of the proposed development, which would be built on county land, would make traffic through town of about 1,150 a nightmare.

Manny Shaool owns the land on which the proposed development would be built.

"It's going to be a mess," Councilman Kim Ramer said.

The town made the same argument last year, when it fought off a Wal-Mart Supercenter proposed for a site along Edgewood Drive in Hagerstown. The battle went to Washington County Circuit Court, where a judge blocked the plans for the supercenter.

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Kline said traffic is already backed up through the town between 3:30 and 5 p.m. from those who live in the Stonecroft, Brightwood Acres and Youngstoun complexes, which are in the same area of the proposed 990-unit development.

"There is absolutely a lot of traffic from these now," he said.

The town plans to send letters to the state and county to make its concerns known, but they're not sure of the outcome.

"We're only going to stop development for so long," Ramer said.

"It does pay to fight, or at least try," Councilman Robert D. Rodgers said.

Kline said the town plans to discuss the issue with the Washington County Board of Commissioners at an upcoming meeting.

"That will be our No. 1 priority when we talk to them," he said.

The 990-unit project would be in the county's urban growth area, which is a government-identified area in which development is encouraged.

The land is zoned agricultural, but Shaool is asking for a Planned Urban Development (PUD) zoning designation. A PUD is a special zoning designation that typically allows higher-density development on a property than would be allowed under the property's existing zoning.

The PUD request is scheduled for the March joint meeting of the Washington County Planning Commission and the county commissioners.

Kline said Funkstown will make a statement at that meeting and oppose the proposed development for as long as it takes.

"We're going to fight it as long as we possibly can," he said.

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