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Commissioners postpone rezoning vote that would allow Sheetz in Smithsburg

August 27, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

SMITHSBURG -- The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday postponed a scheduled vote on a rezoning that would allow a Sheetz to be built at the corner of Md. 64 and Md. 66 in Smithsburg.

The Bowman Development Corp., which requested the rezoning so the Sheetz could be built, asked the commissioners to postpone their vote.

Donald M. Bowman, president and chairman of The Bowman Group, did not give a reason Tuesday for the request.

"We just got some more work to do, let's put it that way," Bowman said after the commissioners agreed to postpone their vote. He would not comment further.

The matter was not rescheduled Tuesday. County Attorney John M. Martirano said the vote will be postponed indefinitely.

Commissioner William J. Wivell asked Assistant County Attorney Kirk Downey during a brief discussion on the matter why the postponement was being requested.

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"They asked for a postponement," Downey said.

After the commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Commissioners President John F. Barr suggested that Bowman knew he wouldn't have the votes to get the rezoning approved.

"Apparently, he took a poll and realized there wasn't a consensus," Barr said.

Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said he was concerned that no date would be set for the vote.

"We have citizens with an expectation of some kind of process," Aleshire said.

Several residents of Paden Avenue, a small residential street that runs behind the property that would be rezoned, have opposed the plan, saying it would increase traffic and lower property values in the area.

Barr said the sudden postponement might prompt new procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

"I was embarrassed about it this morning. No one knew it was going to happen," Barr said. "We probably will have to make it a point to set new guidelines on when it is too late to pull an item."

The Washington County Planning Commission voted May 5 to support the rezoning.

The planning commission held a public meeting on the rezoning request on April 21, and the county commissioners held a public hearing on the matter on May 19.

A rezoning approval from the county commissioners is the final approval needed to rezone the property.

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