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Land abandonment decision in Hagerstown City Council's hands

November 15, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The decision to quitclaim, or abandon, the City of Hagerstown's interest in a portion of land near the American Legion property will go to the City Council.

On Wednesday, the city's planning commission voted against quitclaiming to a developer roughly 400 feet of land that extends from the end of Country Club Road toward the American Legion. The commission's decision will be forwarded as a recommendation to the City Council, which will make the final decision.

The 3-1 majority said the city should maintain its interest, in part, because the land might be needed for public use in the future.

City Comprehensive Planner Stuart Bass said before the meeting that when Country Club Road was constructed, it was supposed to connect with Woodland Way near the front of the American Legion. Because the job was never finished, a grassy area covers about 400 feet of land where the road should have been built.

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That land is flanked on both sides by vacant lots that are owned Jerry Spessard.

Spessard wanted the commission to quitclaim the land because it sits between his lots, Bass said. Had that happened - and it still could pending the council's decision - Spessard would have split the land down the middle and added it to his property.

About 25 residents who live near the American Legion showed up to hear the commission's decision. They hired an attorney, William C. Wantz, to argue their case.

Wantz said after the meeting that a quitclaim would have done nothing but stirred controversy and violated a covenant for private use of the land.

In this case, the covenant ensures that each lot should have no more than one house, he said. A quitclaim could have broken that covenant if more homes were constructed in the quitclaim area.

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