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Planners work on discrepancies in zoning

September 26, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County planners have identified discrepancies between city and county planning maps in the types of development that would be allowed on almost two dozen properties near the Hagerstown city line.

Two weeks ago, county planners noticed 42 properties on city planning maps that were zoned differently by the city than they were by the county.

All of the properties are on county land but are in the city's growth area.

The city applies zoning categories to property outside its boundaries that it might annex in the future.

Zoning classifications stipulate the kind of development that may occur on a piece of property.

Washington County Chief Planner Steven Goodrich brought the matter before the county commissioners Tuesday.

"This is not necessarily a crisis, but it's something you need to know about," Goodrich said.

Goodrich said county planners were able to eliminate discrepancies on 20 of the properties through meetings with city planners.

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He said county planners simply were not clear on the zoning designations that were assigned by the city.

Of the remaining 22 properties, 14 are being reviewed by county and city planners for possible changes.

Goodrich said zoning classifications on some of the properties were assigned several years ago and might not be appropriate now.

The final eight properties are zoned for either commercial or residential use by the county and for business development use by the city.

The difference between commercial and business development use hinges largely on the fact that business development limits the amount of retail on the property.

Goodrich said the commissioners can address the discrepancies in several ways.

He recommended that the commissioners discuss the matter with the Hagerstown City Council.

He said the commissioners could address the issue when the county reviews its comprehensive plan next year or ask the city to look at the matter this year as it revises its own comprehensive plan.

Goodrich also said the commissioners can wait until the city proposes annexing one of the properties, at which time the county can either approve or deny the city's zoning recommendations.

If the county denies the city's zoning, the city still may annex the property but would have to abide by the county's zoning classifications for five years.

The commissioners asked Goodrich to bring more information about the eight properties to next week's meeting, where they will discuss the matter further.




Know more in 30 seconds



The issue: Washington County planners have identified zoning discrepancies on almost two dozen properties near the Hagerstown city line.

What's new: Washington County Chief Planner Steven Goodrich recommended that the County Commissioners advise the Hagerstown City Council about the differences, which affect county property near the city that city officials might decide to annex in the future.

What's next: The county commissioners asked Goodrich to bring more detailed information about the properties to next week's meeting, where they will discuss the matter further.

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