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Washington Co. Hospital opponents seek reconsideration

October 26, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

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

A motion for further reconsideration was filed Oct. 15 to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, according to Court Clerk Leslie Gradet.

The appellants are challenging an opinion that affirmed zoning approvals for a new Washington County Hospital adjacent to Robinwood Medical Center.

Under the first reconsideration, which was approved Oct. 5 by the court, judges changed a court opinion to acknowledge that the court had seen Washington County's comprehensive plan.

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The change is important because the comprehensive plan says a hospital should not be placed on the Robinwood site, according to William C. Wantz, attorney for the appellants.

Wantz said the appellants have filed a second reconsideration to ask the court to review the decision again with the comprehensive plan in mind.

Washington County Health System CEO James Hamill was not aware Thursday of the latest motion for reconsideration, spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said.

Hospital Vice President Mary Towe had no comment.

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

Hospital officials say the aging East Antietam Street complex must be replaced. They want to build a 500,000-square-foot facility next to Robinwood Medical Center.

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals voted in December 2005 to grant zoning variances that would have allowed the hospital's plans to go forward.

A group of residents appealed the decision 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.

Gradet said the court would have to decide how the latest reconsideration would affect the appellants' timeline to appeal their case to the Maryland Court of Appeals. She said normally after the court decides on a reconsideration, appellants have 15 days to take their case to the next highest court. The court issued its decision on the first reconsideration Oct. 5.

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