Concerns raised over development at public hearing

March 27, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Traffic was again the top concern raised by citizens who testified during a Tuesday public hearing on a proposal to build more than 700 residential units behind the Centre at Hagerstown shopping plaza.

But some said they were happy the developer eliminated a proposed road that would connect the development to McDade Road to the west, which was part of the long-range plan for the project.

The City Council probably will discuss the proposed development in April. A final council vote on whether to approve the project could be taken in May, Mayor William M. Breichner said.


The proposed development, named Hager's Crossing, would be on about 164 acres behind the shopping center. The development would include 203 single-family homes, 261 townhouses and about 242 units in four-unit apartment buildings called quadplexes, representatives for the development company, The Rachuba Group, said Tuesday.

Previously, plans showed 264 units in the proposed quadplexes. But Rachuba Group owner Lawrence R. Rachuba said 22 fewer quadplex units will be cut from the plan to make room for quadplex units that will be designed for the handicapped.

The Rachuba Group, which is based in Eldersburg, Md., needs council approval for the development because it is seeking a special zoning designation for the property. The special zoning designation, called a Planned Unit Development (PUD), would allow the development to have single-family homes, townhouses and quadplexes, City Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart has said.

The five men who testified at Tuesday's public hearing didn't strongly oppose the proposed development. But generally they said that traffic on the nearby roads is congested and could only get worse if the development is built.

During a public hearing on the proposed development before the City Planning Commission in January, neighbors of the property said they worry the development will bring additional traffic to the area, especially to McDade and Broadfording roads.

In February, the Planning Commission recommended the City Council approve the proposed development, subject to concerns about traffic and some design issues.

Although not part of the current plan submitted for city approval, The Rachuba Group plans to build more single-family homes on adjacent property. Previous plans showed a road connecting the development to McDade Road.

Now there are no plans for a road to connect to McDade Road, said Steve Zoretich, vice president of Frederick, Seibert and Associates, the engineering firm on the project.

Vehicle access to the development would be from two connections to Garland Groh Boulevard, which is in front of the shopping center. One connection would be on the western edge of the boulevard, and the other would be near Broadfording Road, according to development plans displayed Tuesday.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said that because of the size of the proposed development, the council should hold "multiple meetings" to discuss the project.

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