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Makeup of task force upsets some residents

February 06, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Some Washington County residents are upset that a task force appointed to study the possible rezoning of hundreds of the county's rural acres has several members who live outside the county.

The Washington County Commissioners formed the 13-member task force Jan. 27 to review parts of the county plan, which is aimed at reducing the number of homes allowed to be built in rural areas.

Jim Laird, president of Citizens for the Protection of Washington County, said the commissioners violated their own policy when appointing the task force.

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The policy requires members of county-appointed committees to be residents of the county, with the exception of Hagerstown-Washington Economic Development Commission board members.

"We can't figure out how they (commissioners) could be that ignorant of their own policy," Laird said by phone this week.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the policy doesn't apply to the rural task force, because it's not a typical county board.

He said the rural task force will only be in existence for 90 to 100 days, while the other boards are long-term.

Most of the task force members who live outside the county have either worked in Washington County or own property here, Snook said.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said three or four task force members live outside the county and that the commissioners never discussed whether the members should be county residents.

County residents Barbara Hovermill and Gerald Ditto voiced opposition to the appointments at the Jan. 27 meeting.

They said all of the task force's members should be county residents.

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