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Rezoning plan involves shopping center

July 17, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday began discussing a rezoning request for a piece of property near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.

Kent Oliver has asked the county to add 120 acres of his property to the county's Urban Growth Area and rezone the western half of the property from agricultural to highway-interchange usage.

The rezoned property would be added to two adjacent properties already inside the Urban Growth Area for development of a shopping center.

The commissioners expressed concern about several aspects of the project on Tuesday, including road adequacy, water and sewer access, and land to be dedicated for a new public school.

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Speaking to the more than 40 residents who came to the meeting for the afternoon discussion, Commissioner James F. Kercheval also explained that the land adjacent to Oliver's already has been slated for a shopping center. He said rezoning Oliver's land only would relocate the center closer to I-70.

"I've gotten a lot of e-mails from residents saying, 'I don't want a shopping center in my backyard,' but we're not here deciding on whether a shopping center should be built," Kercheval said. "It's a matter of location."

A development company called Faison is proposing a shopping center at U.S. 40 and I-70 called Beaver Creek Plaza.

A layout plan at Faison's Web site shows a 180,000-square-foot two-level department store; a 148,000-square-foot club store; a 134,000-square-foot anchor store; a 102,000-square-foot home improvement store; a 76,000-square-foot grocery store; and a 65,000-square-foot movie cinema, among other shops.

Faison also is the developer of the Stone House Square shopping center on Leitersburg Pike.

The commissioners also said they were worried about whether the City of Hagerstown will approve the extension of water and sewer access to the Oliver property.

"If they don't, everything else is moot," Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said.

The commissioners said they might schedule a joint meeting with the Hagerstown City Council to discuss the issue.

Staff writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.

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