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Park's planner drops well-use request

October 18, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A developer is dropping his request to use wells to irrigate a 203-acre golf course for a planned residential development south of Hagerstown, saying the timing is bad because of the drought.

The 443-acre St. James Park development, which may have up to 773 units, would be on the west side of Md. 65, 1.7 miles south of Interstate 70 and northeast of the existing St. James development.

Plans call for a golf course to be built in the middle of the development.

Richard deGorter, president of Development Partners of Leesburg, Va., said two options are being considered: Delay building the golf course until the drought ends or remove the golf course from the development plans.

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The company manages St. James Park LLC, which owns the property.

Fairplay property owners have expressed concern their water supply would be affected by St. James Park.

The developer has asked the Maryland Department of the Environment for permission to use an average of 79,500 gallons of ground water per day for the golf course, and up to 187,200 gallons per day during a month of peak use.

DeGorter has said a hydrogeologic report submitted to the state shows the development's proposed use of the wells would not adversely affect other wells.

Despite that, he said Monday, "This is not the right time to pursue this course of action."

He said his decision was not affected by protests from property owners.

Allan Green, a Fairplay farmer who organized a June meeting on the issue attended by 100 people, said he was pleased by the decision.

"It was the only appropriate thing to do," Allen Green said.

"I think it is the responsible thing to do," said Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington. "People were rightly concerned."

County Planning Director Robert Arch and Department of the Environment spokesman Richard McIntire said the departments have not been notified of any changes to the plans.

Washington County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger, who also serves on the Washington County Planning Commission, said deGorter told him he may donate to the county the land that was going to be used for a golf course. The county could use the land for a new park, Iseminger said.

DeGorter could not be reached Tuesday or Wednesday to respond to Iseminger's comments.

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