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Fence to be built around former Hagerstown light plant

May 07, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The owner of the former Municipal Electric Light Plant in Hagerstown will have to pay the cost to build a chain-link fence around the dilapidated property.

During its Tuesday work session, the Hagerstown City Council unanimously agreed to give Chief Code Compliance Officer John Lestitian permission to seek a contractor to build the fence.

Lestitian said he didn't know how much the 8-foot high enclosure with barbed wire on top will cost, but Partners Marketing LLP in Staunton, Va., which has owned the property at 600 S. Cannon Ave. for the past 12 years, will have to pay the bill.

The fence is to be built as soon as possible, Lestitian said.

"It's necessary to add this security fence ... The owner has failed to properly secure that structure," Lestitian said.

The City's Fire Marshal's Office fined Partners Marketing LLP three times last month, alleging fire code violations.

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Last week, H.D. Thompson of Partners Marketing LLP said he never received the citations even though the city claimed they were sent by certified mail.

On Monday, Thompson deferred comment to his attorney, Bruce Poole.

Poole said he would know more about the situation after he meets with Thompson in a few days. The owners want to work with the city, but costs associated with renovating the property have prevented the project from moving forward, Poole said.

"We want to meet with the council to broker an understanding that won't make it an eyesore," Poole said. "Common sense says if it would have been easy, it would have been taken care of long ago."

In addition to the fines, officials have said the building has been the site of several break-ins, and homeless people have used it as a shelter. The building was condemned because it presented an imminent danger, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

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