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Pangborn Park developer may change plans

March 08, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A developer who wants to build apartment buildings and townhouses on the parking lot next to Hagerstown's Pangborn Park said Thursday he will drop the plan if he confirms that City Council members oppose it.

All five council members said Tuesday they oppose a plan to build 28 townhouses and 10 three-story apartment buildings on 6.5 acres along Pangborn Boulevard between Security Road and the park.

Richard McCleary, a Williamsport developer and co-owner of the property, said he heard the council opposes the plan, but hadn't spoken with any city officials about it.

McCleary said he will speak with city officials early next week and if they confirm that the council opposes the plan, he will instead build duplexes on the property.

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The council would have the final say on the plan to build apartments and townhouses next to the park because McCleary and property co-owner David Lyles need a special zoning designation for the project.

Without the special zoning designation, called a Planned Unit Development (PUD), McCleary and Lyles could build on the property, but construction would be limited to what is allowed under the current residential zoning classification.

City Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart said she estimates the most that could be built on the property under the current zoning is 52 to 56 residential units in duplexes.

McCleary and Lyles' latest plan calls for 88 residential units on the property.

The City Planning Commission is reviewing the proposed apartment and townhouse development and is scheduled to discuss the plan again Wednesday.

Lyles is a member of the planning commission, but has not attended meetings at which the plan was discussed.

The planning commission reviews requests for PUDs and recommends the City Council approve or deny a plan. The council then holds a public hearing on a proposed PUD and votes on the plan.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said Tuesday the PUD approval process may be flawed because the developer and city staff have spent a lot of time on this proposal, which he feels would be rejected by the council.

Metzner has said he wants only single-family homes built on the property.

Councilwoman Penny May Nigh has said she wants either no development on the land or only single-family homes there.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire has said he feels it would be wrong for the council to approve any PUD for the property.

McCleary said council opposition to the proposed PUD is unfortunate.

"It's a loss for the city. What could have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the city ... is going to go by the wayside," McCleary said.

He said the residences that would be built under the PUD would be more valuable and nicer than duplexes, and the city could make more in taxes and fees if the proposed PUD is allowed.

If the plan is turned down, the city also would be giving up space for a parking lot next to the park, which is part of the most recent plan, he said.

Some park neighbors have voiced strong opposition to the proposed PUD, saying it would worsen traffic conditions and lower property values.

McCleary has disagreed with those claims.

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