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Proposed Halfway development raises concerns about traffic

September 10, 2005|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY

Some Washington County Commissioners are worried that a proposed residential development in Halfway would worsen existing traffic concerns about a narrow road heavily traveled by elementary school students.

Planning Director Michael Thompson said Thursday that residents also have expressed traffic concerns about the development planned for 7.46 acres along the west side of Massey Boulevard behind Crosspoint Shopping Center.

Crosspoint Shopping Center includes Target and Michaels Arts & Crafts.

Thompson said it is possible access to the proposed development would be from Hickory School Road or Massey Boulevard.

Hickory School Road, which Thompson described as a narrow road on which homes are built close to the road, leads to Hickory Elementary School, he said.

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Maryland Homes CB LLC asked the county to rezone the 7.46 acres from business general to residential multifamily. The change would allow as many as 16 housing units per acre, but Thompson said he didn't think the applicant was proposing that many units.

Thompson said he didn't have any information about the exact number of proposed units, which could consist of condominiums or town houses.

Hekbel LLC owns the land, Thompson said.

The County Commissioners last week agreed by consensus to approve the zoning change, with the condition that the county's engineering department address the road concerns.

They plan to formally approve the change this month.

"I know how bad Hickory School Road is," Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said last week. "It's a mess there."

She said parents have complained to the Washington County Board of Education about traffic issues with the road.

"I do believe that high-density residential is appropriate (for the property)," Nipps said. "I have a real issue with access to the property."

"Staff will make it work," Commissioner John C. Munson said.

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