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City Council approves $79.36 million budget

May 29, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday turned down a request to grant a special zoning designation to developers who want to build apartment buildings and townhouses next to the city's Pangborn Park.

The council voted 4-1 to reject a proposal by developers Richard McCleary and David Lyles to build 28 townhouses and a total of 48 apartment units in three apartment buildings on 6.5 acres next to the park.

The council had the authority to deny the proposal because the developers needed a special zoning designation called a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to build apartments and townhouses there.

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The property, now an overgrown parking lot, is along Pangborn Boulevard between the park and Security Road.

Councilman N. Linn Hendershot was the lone vote in favor of the project. Hendershot said the park needs the 1.5 acres next to it that would have been given to the city under the developers' proposal. The property could have been used as a public parking lot.

Last week, Hendershot asked the Hagerstown Parks Board and the Hagerstown City Council to meet him at the park Saturday to look for other possible parking places around the park. About 20 to 25 people attended the unofficial meeting.

They found there is other available property that could be used for parking, including 3.5 acres owned by Pangborn Corp., adjacent to the railroad trestle, across the street from the park pond, Hendershot said.

He estimated the Pangborn land probably would cost the city a minimum of $120,000 to $140,000.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Penny Nigh and City Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart met with Pangborn Vice President Randy Hudson about the available property.

There was no discussion of price for the property, Nigh, Everhart and Hudson said.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city should consider trying to take the land by eminent domain, the forceful taking of land by a public agency.

Without council approval of the PUD, construction is limited by the current residential zoning designation on the property.

Everhart has said the current residential zoning on the property would allow a maximum of 40 residential units in duplexes and one single-family house on the property.

But McCleary has said 58 residential units in duplexes could be built on the property. McCleary also has said that if duplexes were built on the property, no land would be given to the city.

During public hearings on the proposed development, park neighbors complained about the expected increase in traffic such a development would bring, and that apartment buildings would bring too many residential units to the area.

Lyles is a member of the city Planning Commission, which recommended the council approve the proposed development.

Lyles did not participate in commission discussion of the proposed development.

Staff Writer Dan Kulin contributed to this story.

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