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Group plans hospital site fight

November 10, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

tarar@herald-mail.com

Residents opposed to a new hospital on Robinwood Drive are gearing up to make their case known at a zoning appeals hearing later this month.

About 30 residents attended a meeting Wednesday night in preparation for the Nov. 21 Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing on requested zoning changes by the Washington County Health System.

"At the zoning meeting, we need to fill the room," resident J. Michael Nye said. "It literally needs to be filled with people who say, 'we are watching you.'"

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Nye spearheaded the meeting, which was at Clarion Hotel and Conference Center Antietam Creek.

He suggested that about six people testify at the zoning appeals hearing, each of whom would focus on different concerns.

Some residents said Wednesday they weren't opposed to a hospital being built, they just didn't think the site chosen for the facility made sense.

They said the hospital would generate significant levels of traffic on already failing roads, and create noise and safety problems for residents of the area and students at Eastern Elementary School.

Nye said needed road improvements for the Robinwood area total millions of dollars, but there's little information about exactly how much is needed and from where the money would come.

Washington County Health System has proposed a $233 million, 502,608-square-foot hospital next to Robinwood Medical Center, just outside the City of Hagerstown. It would connect to the medical center at the entrance near the John R. Marsh Cancer Center.

The health system first needs zoning modifications that would allow helicopters and ambulances to service the proposed hospital, permission to exceed the 35-foot building height restriction in order to build a five-story, 80-foot structure and various setback changes.

The hospital would replace the existing one on East Antietam Street.

The zoning appeals hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 in Courtroom One of the Washington County Courthouse. A second hearing, if needed, will be Nov. 22.

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