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City Council OKs Doub Farm annexation

December 22, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Despite objections from one council member who is concerned about the spread of strip malls in the area, the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved the annexation of the Doub Farm property at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.

One project that had been proposed for the Doub site -- Hagerstown Towne Centre -- was set to move forward in October 2008, but the Washington County Commissioners declined to grant express approval for rezoning the property to Regional Shopping Center and Professional Office Mixed-Use.

With the city's annexation, developers will have to wait five years before building a shopping center at the site.

Councilwoman Ashley Haywood was the only council member to vote against the annexation, saying a disproportionate amount of strip malls and shopping centers is a detriment to the city and county.

Haywood said she is worried about small businesses not being able to stay above water when less-scrupulous practices of larger corporations overcome the thoughtfulness of offering ethical products or fair wages.

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"For every two minimum-wage jobs created, three better-paying jobs are destroyed," Haywood read from a statement.

Councilman Lewis Metzner said he could not vote against the annexation because there is a piece of property adjacent to the Doub Farm where commercial development is allowed.

Councilman Martin Brubaker said he understands Haywood's concerns about the number of shopping centers.

"But we need to be realistic," Brubaker said.

Brubaker said previously if the city does not participate in the urban growth area and growth at the edge of the city, the county will. Then, the city will not get any revenue but will have to deal with the negative impact of those areas, he said.

"This is the solution," Brubaker said Tuesday night.

Brubaker further supported his argument for the annexation by stating that Prime Outlets and Valley Mall are outside the city.

Doub Real Estate Partnership, Shaool Holdings LLC, Day Road LLC, and Robin Brawner and Troy Brawner are listed as the petitioners in the annexation request.

The petition said that if annexation were granted, the petitioners would provide an annual contribution of 5 cents per square foot of newly developed commercial or office building space, not to be less than $20,000 per year for five years.

Another offer stated that upon completion of construction of 120,000 square feet of retail space on the Doub Farm, two buses will be contributed to the city.

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