Hagerstown to ask Commissioners if they support Doub Farm rezoning

June 03, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday took the first step that could lead to the construction of a shopping center just northeast of the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. 40.

In a 3-1 poll, the council agreed to send a letter to the Washington County Commissioners to determine whether the commissioners would support rezoning the land to allow commercial and professional office use. The commissioners' approval could open the door for a shopping center if the city decides to annex the property in the future.

Bruce N. Dean, an attorney who represents developer Phillip Ross, requested in writing that the council submit the letter on Ross' behalf.

Earlier this year, Ross appeared before the council and told its members of his plan to build, among other things, a shopping center, movie theater, hotels and office buildings on about 140 acres at the intersection, which is known more commonly as the Doub Farm. Residents who live near the intersection attended Ross' presentation to the council and expressed their disapproval.


Although the letter will be sent to the commissioners, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said it wouldn't guarantee that a shopping center would be built.

"It doesn't tie our hands, but it gets us off square one," he said.

Councilman Martin E. Brubaker pointed out a section of a draft of the letter that said, "No one should infer from this request that the city has 1) decided to annex the property; 2) decided upon specific zoning classification(s) for the property; or 3) decided upon any specific development plans for the property."

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said she was against the council sending the letter to the commissioners.

"I don't think retail should be out there," she said.

After the council met, Nigh said more retail would cripple businesses that already are here.

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