Hagerstown briefs

February 23, 2005

Business owner seeks city's help

Eric Campbell, a Jonathan Street business owner, on Tuesday asked for the city's help to clean up a dirty problem near his business.

During a public comment session at the Hagerstown City Council's Tuesday meeting, Campbell said a public safety problem is arising from what he called an "infestation" of birds in his neighborhood, resulting in "inches and inches of feces."

"I feel that the mayor, the city, we ask you as a community to help us get rid of this infested disease, because that's what it is," Campbell said.

He said the problem is a detriment not only to people visiting his business, but to children and the elderly who walk the street.


Mayor William M. Breichner said the city's engineering department has been notified and is looking into the problem.

Contract approved for sewer study

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved a $66,425 contract to study problems with the city's embattled sewer system.

The contract, with Gaithersburg, Md.-based Black & Veatch, covers the analysis of leaks in sewer pipes that allow groundwater and rainwater to enter pipes, a problem that has been blamed for some of the recent wastewater spills cited in a list of sanctions given the city by state environment officials.

The contract was approved on a 4-1 vote as part of a consent agenda, which is a list that contains several spending items that are considered in a single vote.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh opposed the agenda, specifically citing the contract. She said the expenditure was unnecessary because the city recently hired a person to manage sewer system upgrades, a move she opposed.

City Water and Sewer Department Manager David Shindle said the spending was necessary because "this is not something one person can handle."

Council opposes bill in Annapolis

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously opposed a bill before the General Assembly that relates to gaming and nonprofit groups.

According to the General Assembly's Web site, H.B. 212 would require the state Comptroller's Office to collect information on gaming activities required by charitable and nonprofit organizations.

The bill also would require the Comptroller's Office to adopt regulations requiring those organizations to report revenues and expenses from their gaming activities.

The city's position states, in part, that the proposed legislation "raises the possibility of the state either limiting or removing our county gaming commission's authority and also impacting the revenues local nonprofit organizations and the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association companies receive from gaming proceeds."

Development plans come under scrutiny

Plans to allow up to 243 new homes off Howell Road, near Edgewood Drive and Dual Highway, came under further scrutiny during a public hearing at Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting.

The measure under discussion Tuesday was the proposed rezoning of about 28 acres along Howell Road from its current "IR" - industrial restricted - zoning to an "R2," or moderate residential zoning.

The land is part of a larger piece of land known as the Harrison tract.

Residents who live near the area expressed concerns about traffic volumes as well as the likely displacement of some residents due to the building of a road for the proposed development.

Representatives of the developer said the proposed road, Paul Smith Boulevard, would be built before any homes would be built, alleviating traffic concerns.

The City Council did not make a decision on the zoning Tuesday.

- Gregory T. Simmons

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