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Planning Commission OKs Hager's Crossing

February 14, 2002

Planning Commission OKs Hager's Crossing



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


Concerned about traffic, the Hagerstown Planning Commission stopped just short Wednesday of giving its wholehearted endorsement to a proposed 728-unit residential development behind the Centre at Hagerstown.

"This is a reasonable development but we need to keep our eye on the traffic," said Commission Chairman Doug Wright.

After a spirited discussion, commission member James Stone recommended that the commission approve initial plans for the development, subject to the concerns about traffic.

"The applicant has met the requirements and is compatible," Stone said.

The commission approved the plan, moving it on to the Hagerstown City Council.

Deborah Everhart, Hagerstown zoning administrator and economic development coordinator, told commission members The Rachuba Group, the Eldersburg, Md.-based development company, is in a hurry.

"They have already submitted a traffic study and plan but neither the city, county nor state was happy with it," Everhart said Wednesday.

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The 164-acre Hager's Crossing development would have 203 single-family homes, 261 townhouses and 264 units in four-unit buildings called quadplexes.

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

The new development has been designed to have footpaths and a footbridge to the Centre at Hagerstown. "You know that kids are going to want to walk over to the Centre," said Everhart.

An additional parking lot was suggested for the community center/swimming pool area of the development.

Pointing to the rough map of the proposed development, Steve Zoretich, vice president of Frederick, Seibert and Associates, the engineering firm on the project, told the commission members that 23 percent of the site will be open space.

A public hearing in late January drew a number of residents from the McDade and Swann road area including Richard Socks who also attended Wednesday's meeting at City Hall. A resident of 12422 Honeysuckle Lane, Socks said he knows how busy McDade Road is now and he worries about it becoming even more congested.

"We have heard a lot about visibility problems at Swann Road," Stone said. "We need to made sure we don't do something now that would create a bottleneck we can't solve later."

But Stone also pointed out that a good project like Hager's Crossing doesn't come the city's way every day.

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 Zoretich.

The Hagerstown 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.

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