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City Council OKs plan to add housing near Bester

February 01, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night for a plan that could result in the city building a number of "work-force housing" units across from Bester Elementary School.

The council voted to approve a "master development plan" for the property, including a mix of residences and city uses such as a salt storage container. The city bought the land at 50 W. Memorial Blvd. from Community Rescue Service in 1996 for $120,000 after CRS abandoned its plans to relocate there, according to a Herald-Mail report about the sale.

When the city bought the land, then-Mayor Steven Sager said he thought the extra space could be used to park city vehicles since it was across the street from the city's water and public works departments. The property is vacant and used only for the city's twice-annual Dumpster program, minor storage of public works materials and parking, according to city information.

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The 3.94-acre property is across Potomac Street from Bester Elementary School, and across Memorial Boulevard from the city's public works and water departments. The city wants to use part of the land to build a nine-bay equipment building, a salt-storage bin and related storage components, as well as a 41-space parking lot for city workers.

The city hopes to break off the remainder of the land and build a number of duplexes, single-family houses and town houses in order to finance the first part of its plan. The city has not determined what the precise mix of residences would be.

"It would be of a kind that would be affordable and that would be owner-occupied," City Engineer Rodney Tissue said Tuesday night. The city could build the homes or it could sell a portion of the land to developers, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said before the meeting.

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