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Residents' hospital appeal is denied

April 27, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals denied an appeal by residents alleging the county Planning Commission erred when it preliminarily approved the site plan for a proposed hospital off Robinwood Drive in February.

The appeals board made the 5-0 decision Wednesday night after hearing testimony from two residents and an attorney for the Washington County Health System.

The health system has proposed building a 502,200-square-foot hospital with 267 beds on Medical Campus Drive next to Robinwood Medical Center, just outside of the Hagerstown city boundary. It would replace the existing hospital on East Antietam Street in the city.

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J. Michael Nye, one of the residents who filed the appeal, argued Wednesday that certain conditions of an earlier appeals board decision have not been met.

The appeals board ruled in December that the Robinwood site was the "highest and best use" for the hospital.

Nye claimed that in the decision, the appeals board stated as part of its findings of fact that all road improvements are to be completed, and water and sewer availability would need to be confirmed before the Planning Commission could approve the site plan.

He said the road improvements are not completed, and that water and sewer plans have not been approved.

The hospital's lawyer, William Chen, argued the appeals board decision contained no conditions.

"Consequently, if there's no condition to your decision, there ain't anything to appeal ..." Chen said.

The appeals board agreed.

Board member Don Spickler said the statements regarding roads and water and sewer capacity in the earlier board decision were just facts, not mandates.

Board member Bert Iseminger said none of the testimony on behalf of those who filed the appeal dealt with how the Planning Commission erred in its site plan decision.

"I don't see any basis for an appeal," he said.

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