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Robinwood area bypass concerns aired

April 22, 2004|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Current and anticipated growth of the Robinwood Drive area forced Washington County to revive a plan to build a four-lane road through a residential neighborhood, County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said Wednesday.

About 30 residents, most of whom were opposed to the $6.4 million bypass, met with the commissioners and county Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer at Hagerstown Community College's AARC to ask questions and voice their concerns.

"We were forced to look at the issue because of growth," Kercheval said. "This is something we would've loved not to do. Trust me."

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Plans for the road surfaced in the late 1990s, drawing opposition from residents. The commissioners abandoned the project in 1998, but it was revived last year.

Residents have dubbed the road the "road to nowhere" and said it would disrupt their quiet neighborhood.

The approximately mile-long road will split off at Robinwood Drive near HCC and run to Jefferson Boulevard, which is Md. 64.

The road will run between Partridge Trail and Greenhill Drive and cut through backyards and the property of Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the county has purchased an 80-foot right of way from Richard A. and Robin M. Daughtridge off Jefferson Boulevard to build the road. The county has had preliminary discussions with the church about purchasing some of its land, he said.

In addition to money, the Daughtridges received about four acres northeast of HCC, Snook said. That land belonged to the college but was conveyed by HCC in December 2003.

Richard Daughtridge said he plans to build two homes on that property. He said he wanted to build the two homes on his land off Jefferson Boulevard, but wasn't permitted to do so because of the road project.

"Please don't be upset with me, because I didn't make this problem," Richard Daughtridge told the residents.

Rohrer said the county approached the Daughtridges about selling the right of way.

The county will have to acquire the land of several other property owners before building the road.

Snook said in February that the bypass was the most affordable option for the county. Otherwise, he said the county would have to widen Robinwood Drive to four lanes and purchase 60 rights of ways from property owners to do so.

The county would not be able to afford that cost, he said.

Resident Mona Adkins said she thought the land exchange with the Daughtridges was illegal, because it was paid for by tax dollars for college use. The commissioners said the deal was legal.

"It's still taxpayers' dollars no matter which way you look at it," Commissioner John C. Munson said.

Rohrer said road construction wouldn't start for at least five years and that the county would make the road as nice in appearance and as safe as possible for residents. After the meeting, Rohrer dismissed claims by residents that the road is a road to nowhere, saying it will create four lanes of travel from Jefferson Boulevard to U.S. 40.

"This is not the road to nowhere," Rohrer said. "The road goes to somewhere."

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