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Hurdle cleared in quest to build Sheetz in Smithsburg

Washington County Planning Commission to recommend approval of rezoning

Washington County Planning Commission to recommend approval of rezoning

May 06, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Smithsburg is one step closer to getting a Sheetz after Monday's meeting of the Washington County Planning Commission.

The planning commission voted to recommend approval of a rezoning that would allow Bowman Development Corp. to build a Sheetz near the intersection of Md. 64 and Md. 66.

But while they passed the recommendation, the planning commissioners said they are concerned about how the convenience store and gas station would affect residents on Paden Avenue, a small residential street adjacent to the property where the Sheetz would be built.

"This is a tough one for me. I hate to see little neighborhoods threatened," said Planning Commission Chairman George Anikis, who abstained from the vote.

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At a public meeting on the rezoning held by the planning commission last month, several Paden Avenue residents said the gas station would increase traffic and decrease property values on their street.

Plans call for access to the property from Paden Avenue and Md. 66. Access to Md. 64 would have to be negotiated with the state, which owns a strip of land between the property and that road.

Bowman Development Corp. and Sheetz responded to residents' concerns about traffic by saying they would limit access onto Paden Avenue to right-turns only, which they said would prevent traffic in the residential areas.

Sheetz also said it would use lights that would limit the impact on residents.

Bowman is asking to rezone a 3/4-acre parcel of land near the intersection of Md. 64 and Md. 66 from residential to commercial use so the Sheetz can be built.

While Bowman owns a property adjacent to the parcel that is closer to the intersection, Bowman representatives have said that the Sheetz will be easier to develop using both plots of land.

Donald M. Bowman, who was at Monday's planning commission meeting, said having both properties will make it easier to accommodate traffic concerns.

The rezoning request now will go to the Washington County Commissioners for final approval.

For a Sheetz to be built, a site plan detailing the layout of the property would also have to be approved by the planning commission.

Clear Spring hotel approved

The town of Clear Spring soon will have a new hotel.

The planning commission approved a site plan Monday for a Sleep Inn and Suites on Houck Avenue behind the McDonald's on Clear Spring Road.

The hotel will be three stories with 79 rooms, according to the plans.

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance that will allow the hotel's sign to be 632 square feet in size and 150 feet high so it can be seen from Interstate 70.

Normal regulations would require the sign to be 300 square feet and 35 feet high.

The town supports the plans for the hotel, which overlaps into Clear Spring's municipal boundary, Town Clerk Juanita K. Grimm said at Monday's meeting.

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