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Council still deadlocked on Howell Road rezoning

February 23, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

A Highland, Md., developer's hopes of building more than 200 homes off Howell Road in Hagerstown appears to be headed for failure.

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said during a work session Tuesday she no longer believes she can support the project, though she declined to discuss the matter with the council or to divulge her specific reservations.

"At this point, I'm saying no," she said.

Strategic Resources LLC has asked the city to change the zoning on the 28-acre property off Howell Road from industrial to residential to build as many as 243 homes, according to city information.

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The land is owned by Dr. Richard Harrison of Hagerstown. Harrison also owns 153 acres of industrially zoned land adjacent to the 28 acres, and council members Kristin B. Aleshire and Penny M. Nigh have said they are worried that changing the zoning of the smaller portion could trigger a request to have the 153 acres changed for residential use as well.

Aleshire and Nigh have said they believe the city should keep the land zoned for industrial uses because, among other reasons, they believe the combined land is the largest portion of undeveloped property in the city and carries the strongest potential to contribute to the city's tax base if developed as an industrial use.

Council members Lewis C. Metzner and Alesia D. Parson-McBean have been in support of the project, as had Cromer up until a work session earlier this month when she said she is no longer sure if she supports the change.

The council is scheduled to adopt the rezoning request at its voting session Tuesday. Without three votes supporting it, the council cannot pass the change.

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