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Jonathan Street residents offer zoning ideas

City plans to schedule another forum to accommodate churchgoers

City plans to schedule another forum to accommodate churchgoers

October 07, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown plans to schedule another public forum to discuss future rezoning in the Jonathan Street area.

Representatives of the Hagerstown Planning Department held a forum Wednesday at the Martin Luther King Center at 131 W. North Ave. to get feedback from the public on the best ways to pattern the neighborhood's zoning for the next 20 years.

A majority of the 12 people who attended the forum said the turnout was low because several residents in the Jonathan Street community spend Wednesdays and Thursdays participating in church activities. They suggested holding another forum on a Monday to generate better attendance.

City Planning Director Kathleen Maher said she would accommodate the request and promised to inform the public when a date is scheduled.

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Some of the ideas the public suggested during the forum Wednesday included co-mingling residential units and "mom and pop" type stores and razing abandoned buildings along Jonathan Street.

Reginald Keyes, manager of the Jonathan Street Elks, said it didn't make sense for the city to spend millions of dollars fixing the street "and leave condemned buildings standing."

"There's a lot of houses that need to be torn down around here," Keyes said. "Either put some houses there or put a parking lot there. Put something there."

Annette Conyers, who owns property in the neighborhood and attends church there, said she was concerned about factories moving into the area that might use dangerous chemicals.

"It just needs to be healthy for all the residents," she said.

Another popular opinion at the forum involved reopening the former Jonathan Street Car Wash to create jobs.

"We need small businesses up in here to bring it back to what it used to be," said Leonard Cooper, co-owner of Just Us Barber Shop at 206 N. Jonathan St.

Maher said the car wash can't reopen now because it is zoned for residential use.

A city map shows the Jonathan Street rezoning area is bordered roughly by Church Street to the south, Burhans Boulevard to the west, Pennsylvania and Prospect avenues to the north and Boward Street and Bethune Avenue to the east.

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