Truck center will be a local problem

July 07, 2003

To the editor:

I'm very disturbed and upset over the recent zoning hearing, which can only mean disaster for Washington County.

The Washington County Zoning Appeals Board has made a tragic decision by allowing the following:

First a little insight as to the reason for the zoning appeal by 2003 Mason Dixon LLC. There is a piece of land, 17939 Mason Dixon Road - presently beautiful farmland of approximately 172 acres that is zoned Agriculture and it is outside the Urban Growth Area.

A local businessman, Mr. Fulton - being represented as 2003 Mason Dixon LLC, was attempting to get a "special exception" on the zoned agriculture land to allow the following:

Establish a truck distribution center with the capability to allow future associated uses including truck terminals, warehousing, private fueling facility, parking, maintenance and other truck-related uses.


I personally attended this zoning hearing and it was such a farce that I was quite amazed just how little power an ordinary tax-paying citizen has when facing the zoning board.

It appears to me that the zoning board is all for big business. They have little if any regard for the preservation of land and the protection of the adjacent property owners.

The zoning board consisted of five people and the only one worth mentioning is Jan Wetterer. She is a very concerned citizen and she is definitely looking out for the little guy's interest. She was the only one that voted "no" on the above request. It was extremely interesting to note that a gentleman on the board even made a statement during their deliberation that if he were one of the surrounding property owners he would sell and get the biggest buck he could - and yet he voted "yes" on the request.

While the final decision from the zoning board only allows, at this time, the plans the developer previewed at the hearing, which consists of the first 30 acres - it is only a matter of time before he returns and makes additional requests.

It is interesting to note that the initial phase of development will include 200 dock spaces, 337 trailer spaces, 53 tractor spaces, and 126 car spaces. All of this on 30 acres - can you imagine what it will look like when all 172 acres are developed. Disaster.

My home at 17719 Mason Dixon Road adjoins the land in question. It was built in 1860 and has historical significance. I am exploring that area at the present. I have already been told it was part of the Underground Railroad. I've found written history on the fact that after the battle of Gettysburg 5,000 Confederate soldiers encamped, while on retreat from the battle, in the woods near the house.

Which brings a most striking point: There is no access to this property from Maryland. The access is via Mason Dixon Road, which is served by Pennsylvania. I am shocked and appalled that my state of Maryland would allow such a major change and then give another state the headache of all the traffic woes.

Oh I'm sure they will say, "Oh that will be taken care of," but Washington County has no jurisdiction over the Mason Dixon Road. There is also no water and sewer in this location. They will have to drill wells and what will we do when our wells go dry?

I have firsthand experience of dealing with two states, having recently had a major drainage issue in Pennsylvania - yet I live in Maryland. It was a nightmare to say the least, and finally was resolved but not before lots of work, and I had to depend solely on Pennsylvania legislators for the help.

We already have a problems with the Pilot truck stop and now it looks like we are going to repeat that same mistake again.

This road already has lots of traffic and to add a large truck volume can only spell disaster for those who reside and use Mason Dixon Road.

Washington County is slowly being destroyed and everyone just seems to sit by and watch it happen.

Michael L. Lushbaugh

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