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Commissioners to review shopping mall proposal

July 16, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Commissioners today will discuss whether they want to allow a shopping mall to be built near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.

In order for the project to move forward, the commissioners must approve the rezoning of 60 acres south of and adjacent to I-70 between Beaver Creek and White Hall roads.

The property's owner, Kent Oliver, has asked that the land be added to the county's urban growth area and rezoned from agricultural to highway-interchange usage to allow the construction of a shopping mall.

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Oliver has said he will donate 60 acres of adjoining land to build a public high school if the project is approved.

Several residents living in the area expressed their opposition to the project at a public hearing before the Washington County Planning Commission in March.

Some said they were against the mall because it would promote urban sprawl. Others said it would be the first step toward bringing a Super Wal-Mart to the neighborhood.

At the hearing, Jason Divelbiss, Oliver's attorney, said growth in Washington County is inevitable, and will produce a demand for new commercial and retail services. He also argued that there are no regional commercial facilities on the east end of the urban growth area, according to a planning commission summary of the meeting.

The planning commission recommended denial of the rezoning at its June 4 meeting.

If the commissioners approve the rezoning, the Hagerstown City Council would also have to approve the extension of water and sewer lines to the property before construction could begin.

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