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Appeals to block hospital continue

September 22, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Residents opposed to a new hospital are not giving up.

The appellants in a case involving Washington County Hospital have asked a state court to reconsider a decision that would allow a new hospital to be built on Robinwood Drive.

A motion for reconsideration in the case was filed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Sept. 18, according to Maryland Judiciary Spokesman Darrell Presley.

The appellants have challenged last month's Court of Special Appeals' opinion that affirmed zoning approvals for a new Washington County Hospital.

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The motion is the latest development in a legal battle that has lasted almost two years.

Representatives of Washington County Hospital say the aging East Antietam Street hospital must be replaced. They have proposed a 500,000-square-foot facility to be built next to Robinwood Medical Center.

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals voted in December 2005 to grant zoning variances on the Robinwood Drive site for setbacks, building height, and to allow helicopters and ambulances. The board's decision would have allowed the hospital's plans to go forward.

But residents argued that plans for Robinwood Medical Center approved in 1991 ruled out a hospital there.

A group of residents appealed to Washington County Circuit Court in January 2006.

When a circuit court judge upheld the variances, the group took the case to the Court of Special Appeals.

Presley said a panel of judges is considering the group's motion for reconsideration, but said no time limit exists for their decision.

After a Court of Special Appeals files an opinion, parties in the case have 45 days to petition the Court of Appeals.

The deadline in this case is Oct. 4.

Presley said he did not know how the motion for reconsideration would affect that deadline.

Know more

The issue: Residents opposed to a new hospital have been arguing in court for two years that plans for Robinwood Medical Center approved in 1991 ruled out a hospital there.

What's new: The appellants have challenged last month's Court of Special Appeals' opinion that affirmed zoning approvals for a new Washington County Hospital.

What's next: A Maryland Judiciary Spokesman said a panel of judges is considering the group's motion for reconsideration, but said no time limit exists for their decision.

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