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Pair promotes getting involved

August 17, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - Doug Stone said he learned civic responsibility at an early age, so it seems no great reach that he is serving on the planning and zoning commission in Funkstown.

"I grew up in a household where serving the community was expected and that stayed with me," he said.

His late father, James W. Stone, was the longtime secretary of the Hagerstown Chamber of Commerce. His mother, Margaret, still takes people to appointments with doctors and volunteers at the cold weather shelter.

After growing up in the South End of Hagerstown, Stone, 53, "immigrated" to Funkstown.

He now is chairman of the board, which he has served in Funkstown for 20 years. The job requires members to approve or deny requests for changes or additions to the town based on ordinances.

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If a request is denied, the applicant can appeal the decision to the town's zoning appeals board, which currently is chaired by Gail Mongan, a lifelong Funkstown resident who resides where his family lived when he was born 82 years ago.

Mongan said he started attending town meetings because he was aggravated by the new sewer system.

"There were promises not kept," he said.

When his protests didn't do any good, Mongan figured if he couldn't beat them, he'd join them.

"I ran for council and got elected," he said. He was a council member from 1966-74, he said.

Mongan firmly believes in the value of competent planning and zoning.

"I got involved in this because growth needs to be regulated," he said.

In his years on the zoning appeals board, Mongan said only one case went to court and he said a judge threw it out.

When the zoning ordinance was adopted in 1974, Mongan was on the planning and zoning commission. He resigned in 1981.

He kept busy in the town, once even briefly as the police chief, when the town had a police officer.

"We had one for about four years," Mongan said. "I wore a little badge when I was chief."

"Our highest duty is to protect the town," Stone said. "We do that by upholding the law and the ordinances."

Funkstown is in an urban growth area, so what happens outside town limits can affect the town, Stone said.

"A friend once described our main street as the Valley Mall beltway, from the East End of Hagerstown to the mall and the outlets," Stone said. "If the infrastructure isn't there, it's like an adult wearing a child's shoes."

Stone worked at Pangborn for 28 years. Now he teaches school occasionally, and makes crafts and rustic furniture. He and his wife have two children.

Mongan also has a wife and two children, along with four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He worked at Fairchild for more than 40 years.

Planning and zoning members meet if there is something going on, Stone said. The zoning appeals board meets only when there is an appeal. A zoning administrator oversees both groups.

Both men encourage anyone residing in Funkstown to get involved in town activities, serving on boards or running for elected offices.

"There is not much time involved," Stone said. "The learning curve is just as much as you want to learn. We follow the ordinances and use our best judgment."

For more information about town boards and election procedures, call 301-791-0948.

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