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W House loan vote delayed

August 22, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council won't vote on a $350,000 loan for W House of Hagerstown Foundation Inc. until at least Sept. 24 because of a parking issue that must be resolved, Mayor William M. Breichner said Wednesday.

The council had been scheduled to vote on the loan at its Tuesday meeting.

The $350,000 city Community Development Block Grant loan would help pay for the W House to move its substance abuse program for women into a larger building on Locust Street. The program will make the move even if it doesn't get the money, W House Executive Director Christina Trenton has told the council.

The W House will have to go before the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals to get a variance on parking requirements because of its plans to replace parking spaces in front of the building with a courtyard, Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart said Wednesday.

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The next Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals meeting is Sept. 18. To be on the agenda for that meeting, the W House must file for the parking variance by Aug. 30, Everhart said.

Trenton said Wednesday that the organization probably will apply for the variance but is waiting for additional information from the city.

She said she was disappointed that the council delayed the vote.

The council discussed the loan at its Aug. 6 meeting and Breichner said he had scheduled an Aug. 27 vote on the loan request.

Councilman Kristin Aleshire, however, asked that the vote be delayed until the parking issue was resolved. Breichner said the loan and parking were separate issues.

Breichner said Tuesday he postponed the vote because he figured the council would vote to table the matter.

The W House purchased the 11,000-square-foot property at 519 N. Locust St. to replace its present 2,500-square-foot home on Antietam Street. The Locust Street property previously was the site of Ted's Rent-It Center.

The W House received permission to use the Locust Street property at a September 2001 meeting of the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals but the parking issue was not addressed at that time.

Plans for the courtyard were in the documents submitted to the board in September, Trenton said.

The total cost of the W House project is $1.13 million. The 14-year-old nonprofit organization has received about $700,000 in grants from the state and about $90,000 in foundation and corporate grants, Trenton has said.

If the group does not get the city loan, it will seek additional funding from other sources, she said.

The new property will be used to double W House's bed capacity from nine to 18, she said.

The extra space will enable W House to serve 40 or more women a year, Trenton said. W House averages 10 to 12 women on its waiting list, she said.

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