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Some oppose annexing railroad land south of Hagerstown

December 19, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

A handful of residents on Tuesday spoke against a proposal to annex into the city about 95 acres of land south of Hagerstown that the Norfolk Southern Railway Co. would use to store vehicles.

The residents, who live on Oak Ridge Drive, spoke during a public hearing Tuesday at Hagerstown City Hall.

Mary Vorreyer told the council that she knew the proposal would be approved, but she asked them to do whatever they could to mitigate the negative impact on the residents who live there.

Vorreyer said she was concerned tractor-trailer traffic and lights from the storage facility would disrupt the neighborhood at night.

"I know it's going to go through. We're just looking for assistance," Vorreyer said.

Another resident said the neighborhood would be filled with exhaust fumes and the sound of idling trucks.

Norfolk Southern plans to build the storage facility on 95.2 acres of land below Wilson Boulevard and between Virginia Avenue and Downsville Pike.

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If the council approves the annexation, Norfolk Southern would off-load motor vehicles at the facility and store them there, according to city documents. Trucks then would pick up and deliver the vehicles to automotive dealerships across the country.

The construction would include "grading, paving, fencing, new tracks and a new entrance road," documents show.

Washington County Planning Director Michael C. Thompson spoke at the public hearing. He said the county also had some concerns about the storage facility.

Among other things, Thompson said, the hours of operation at the facility should be examined to minimize noise at night, and officials should ensure that light coming from the facility doesn't spill onto adjoining properties.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said it wasn't the city's decision to determine whether the facility gets built, but to ensure the facility is properly regulated and taxed.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the city would discuss the issue further at a later date.

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