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Housing proposal is discussed

October 08, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Planning Commission member George Anikis asked property owner Manny Shaool Monday night to withdraw his plan for a proposed 59 single-family unit development near Clear Spring, mainly because of the land's proximity to preserved farmland.

"In good conscience ... I could not vote to approve this development," Anikis said. "I think it's the wrong time and the wrong place."

The Planning Commission discussed the proposed plan but did not take a vote.

Shaool has proposed that the development, Sunset Meadows, be built on 123 acres bordering 2,000 acres of county preserved farmland at the intersection of Md. 57 (St. Paul Church Road) and Hicksville Road, northeast of Clear Spring.

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Associate Planner Jill Baker called the area "the core" of the county's agricultural land preservation program.

Anikis said he also had concerns that Hicksville Road would be too narrow to handle increased traffic from Sunset Meadows.

Clear Spring-area residents have spoken out against the development, saying it would overcrowd schools, cause traffic problems, dry up the ground water supply and disrupt the rural characteristics of the Clear Spring area.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Paula Lampton said she was concerned about the effect of Sunset Meadows on the ground water levels.

Washington County Commissioner Bert Iseminger, an ex-officio Planning Commission member, said he thinks Shaool should reduce the number of proposed units and consider selling the development rights of some of the land to the county for agricultural preservation.

"I would encourage Manny to consider that option," Iseminger said. "Maybe we can reach a compromise."

Shaool, who said he was proud to be a resident of Washington County, said he would think about Iseminger's suggestion.

"I'm open for any kind of suggestion that would make everybody happy," Shaool said.

Iseminger said County Land Preservation Administrator Eric Seifarth would get in touch with Shaool about possibly preserving some of Shaool's land for agriculture.

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