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Proposed housing development grows

September 08, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Project developers at Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting presented updated plans for a large housing development that would be drawn into city limits if Washington County Hospital successfully moves to that area.

Steven Stannard, the landscape architect for the proposed Mount Aetna Farms development, said the project just off Robinwood Drive east of Hagerstown has increased in size from the proposed 800 to 1,100 homes to more than 1,400 homes that would be part of what he called a "neo-traditional village."

The homes, Stannard and developer James Quillen said, would range in price from about $150,000 up to as much as $800,000, and would be a mix of town houses, condominiums and single-family, detached homes, which would all be owner-occupied.

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Stannard and Quillen responded to questions from the City Council about open space requirements, housing density and whether they had plans to make room for low-income residents.

Mayor William M. Breichner asked the developers if they could conform to inclusionary zoning rules, which if enacted would require builders to set aside a certain number of homes for low-income residents.

Stannard said that was not a focus of the development, but "there's something for everybody here."

Stannard, however, said the plans are complex - they also include alleys, a community center and sports amenities - and warned that they do not "fit well" with zoning ordinances, and likely would require several exceptions.

Quillen said after the meeting that the earliest the project would break ground would be March 2005. He said it would take five to sever years to complete the entire project.

In a comment period, Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said if the housing development comes up for annexation review, he hoped it would be looked at carefully.

The development is planned for construction next to the proposed site for Washington County Hospital. Hospital officials and Mount Aetna Farms developer Quillen Development have been negotiating privately with the city on several issues, including annexation, and water and sewer connections.

The outcome of those discussions would, in part, determine who would pay for improvements to water, sewer and road systems, and how much they would pay.

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