Hagerstown City Council briefs

August 20, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

Property exempted from annexation law

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved exempting from the city's annexation policy a piece of property at Newgate Industrial Park.

The council vote was 3-2, with council members Kristin Aleshire and Penny May Nigh opposed.

Negotiations on selling the property at Newgate Industrial Park began in January 2002, about eight months before the annexation policy went into effect, city documents said.

If the property, owned by Wantz Distributors Inc., had to be annexed, it would be the only city parcel on the west side of Interstate 81 and south of U.S. 40, city documents said.

The ordinance makes water and sewer service connection with the city contingent upon signing a pre-annexation agreement. Under the agreement, property owners agree to become annexed to the city if and when the property becomes contiguous to Hagerstown's boundaries.


On Tuesday, the council also amended the language of the annexation policy, but City Attorney John Urner said the wording changes made to reduce confusion do not alter the policy's meaning.

Moller presents Section 8 statistics

During Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting, Councilwoman Carol Moller, the city's representative on the Hagerstown Housing Authority, read statistics about Section 8 residents aloud to Councilwoman Penny May Nigh, a critic of the program.

After the meeting, Moller said her remarks were in response to comments Nigh made at housing authority and city council members criticizing Section 8 residents.

Nigh criticized Section 8 tenants during a July council meeting.

Responding to a city resident's complaints of crime and mischief in her neighborhood, Nigh said, "all Section 8 people are not bad, but three-fourths of them are." Nigh has said her comment was not based on any studies or calculations.

At Tuesday's meeting, Moller told Nigh that half of the Section 8 residents are disabled or elderly.

Nigh said she hopes the statistics are accurate.

A bigger problem than Section 8 residents are absentee landlords, Moller said.

Eastern Boulevard congestion discussed

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday discussed possible ways to ease traffic congestion and problems on Eastern Boulevard between Dual Highway and Jefferson Boulevard.

The city has received a petition containing about 800 signatures. The petition asks the council to have a traffic light installed at Opal Court and Eastern Boulevard, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said. Some of the signatures are from customers and employees of the Veterans Administration Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Hagerstown.

The signal, if installed, would be about 450 feet from a signal that was installed about three years ago at Professional Court and Eastern Boulevard, Tissue said. Those who want the signal say it would make left turns from Opal onto Eastern easier, safer and, possibly, quicker.

At a Jan. 14 council work session discussion of Eastern Boulevard, and again Tuesday, the consensus of Tissue and the council was to find other alternatives to a signal, such as trying to find a way to connect Opal Professional courts.

Tissue was instructed by the council to work to coordinate the traffic signals along Eastern while determining if there is a way to connect Opal and Professional courts.

Eastern Boulevard has the highest traffic volume of any city street, with 21,000 vehicles per day on an average workday, Tissue said. The city has received calls from people asking that the city not put up additional signals, he said.

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