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Apartments are City Council's sticking point for development

April 10, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

A majority of Hagerstown City Council members on Tuesday said they support homes being built behind the Centre at Hagerstown shopping plaza.

But some council members said they would like a proposal to build more than 700 new residential units on that property to include more single-family homes and fewer apartments.

Council members made no decision Tuesday on whether to approve the development, and agreed to discuss the project again next Tuesday.

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The Rachuba Group, which is based in Eldersburg, Md., is seeking council approval for Hager's Crossing, a residential development proposed for about 164 acres behind the shopping center. The development would include 203 single-family homes, 261 townhouses and 264 units in four-unit apartment buildings called quadplexes, according to development plans submitted to the city.

Rachuba Group owner Lawrence R. Rachuba has said 22 of the quadplex units would be cut from the plan to make room for quadplex units designed for the handicapped.

The Rachuba Group needs council approval for the special zoning designation needed to develop the property as proposed. The special zoning designation, called a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, would allow the development to have single-family homes, townhouses and quadplexes, City Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart has said.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said council members should take their time reviewing the proposed development, which he said would be the largest ever undertaken within the city.

Aleshire said council members should consider what effect such a large development, and especially the proposed apartments, would have on the city.

"I'm in favor of development here, but I want it done the right way," Aleshire said.

"I'm concerned about the mix. I'd like to see less apartments and more townhomes," Councilman N. Linn Hendershot said.

Councilwoman Penny May Nigh said she would prefer that no apartments be built on the property.

Aleshire said he has several points he wants the council to discuss before it votes on the project.

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