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Hagerstown City Council discusses code violations at former light plant

April 30, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

The Hagerstown City Council met privately Tuesday to talk about code violations at the former Municipal Electric Light Plant building.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner urged his colleagues to have some of the discussion in public, so people would know they're trying to do something about the vacant building.

But Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean said she supported having the conversation privately, as the city's attorney, Mark Boyer, had suggested.

The general topic of the executive session was to obtain legal advice for "code enforcement issues."

Maryland law allows government bodies to meet privately for a limited number of reasons, including getting legal advice on pending or potential litigation.

"My concerns are matters of strategy," Boyer told the council about the need to speak privately.

Metzner said the Municipal Electric Light Plant building, across from Municipal Stadium, was one of "multiple properties" the council was going to discuss.

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He said council members are asked why the building has sat in disrepair while owners of homes are forced to take care of their properties.

He said it's not enough for elected officials to say they don't know or they can't say. "Our citizens are owed an explanation," he said.

The council unanimously agreed to have the full discussion in executive session.

However, at Metzner's request, the council agreed to issue a public statement, probably next week, based on its private discussion Tuesday.

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