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Officials: Zoning change helpful

October 24, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County officials hope a new zoning designation created Tuesday will help the county attract high-paying jobs.

The County Commissioners approved a new zoning district called Office, Research and Technology, which will be a place for medical and corporate offices, technology and research and development-based businesses and institutions.

Immediately after approving the designation, the commissioners voted to apply it to 452 acres in Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technology Park. The land had been zoned planned industrial and agricultural districts.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Wednesday other property owners will be able to seek the new designation.

"I think it gives us another avenue to attract high-quality businesses that are related to telecommunications and technology," Snook said. "Our goal is to increase the per capita income with citizens in our county."

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Guy Fletcher, Allegheny Energy spokesman, said the new zoning will allow the company to move ahead with plans to create a campus-like setting at Friendship Technology Park in an attempt to attract business.

"This rezoning is basically another piece that will allow us to move forward with that project," Fletcher said.

Allegheny Energy had pushed for the creation of the district.

Snook and Tim Troxell, acting executive director of the Hagers-town-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said companies have expressed interest in the Allegheny site and that the county will continue the push to get them here.

"We've worked with a number of different clients over the years that have been very interested," Troxell said. "In economic development you work with a lot of clients until you land one."

Troxell said the EDC supported the new zoning district.

"It's an economic development tool," Commissioner Bert Iseminger said.

Iseminger said the county's recently adopted Comprehensive Plan called for such zoning changes as the Office, Research and Technology designation.

Facilities that would be allowed in the zone include educational institutions, computer and data processing services, hospitals, laboratories and government buildings.

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