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Habitat continues duplex construction

August 20, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County's board of directors considered halting a house project in Boonsboro because of a lawsuit, but decided this week that the work will go on.

Sherry Brown Cooper, Habitat's executive director in Washington County, said the board met Tuesday to go over its options.

A lawsuit trying to prevent construction of the house is pending in Washington County Circuit Court.

Karen Shifler, who lives near the duplex, alleges in her complaint that she did not get a chance to appeal the Planning Commission's approval of plans for the house.

Because the duplex will face a narrow alley off St. Paul Street, it will create a crunch for general traffic and emergency vehicles, her complaint says.

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Last week, Habitat responded with a motion to dismiss, saying that Shifler has no basis for her claims.

The Planning Commission is not obliged to provide neighboring property owners with notice, the response says. Besides, her complaint should be directed at the town, Habitat's filing says.

Cooper says Renae Johnson, who will live on one side of the duplex, doesn't have a permanent home, and the Sirbaughs, who will live on the other side, must leave their current home in November because they won't be able to afford the rent.

Cooper said new building materials are on order. In the middle of September, when the materials are due to arrive, Habitat will have volunteers spend a full week erecting the frame and doing other work, she said.

Habitat volunteers mobilized in mid-June to quickly build part of the house - beating the effective date of a new town ordinance that could have halted the project.

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