Televised meetings, roads and growth discussed at meeting

August 04, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

MAUGANSVILLE -- Citizens questioned the Washington County Commissioners about the potential for televised meetings, the status of road improvements and the need for transferable development rights during an evening meeting Tuesday at the Maugansville Ruritan Club.

The 7 p.m. meeting drew an audience of about 50 people, a turnout that elicited praise from many of the commissioners.

During the citizens' participation portion of the meeting, Mary Webb of Hagerstown asked the commissioners why she couldn't watch their meetings on television like she can Hagerstown City Council meetings.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said the city has a franchise agreement with Antietam Cable that the county does not have and said the length of the county's meetings -- sometimes up to nine hours -- makes them more difficult to air on TV.


County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said the county has been working with the new president of Antietam Cable to potentially make the county meetings available as "video on demand," to be replayed by subscribers on their TVs at any time. He said new compression technology could make that more feasible, despite the length of the meetings.

Already, video of the meetings is streamed live on the county website at and archived videos are available there after the meetings.

Maugansville Ruritan Club President Marty Lumm complimented the county on the first phase of its improvements to Maugans Avenue and asked when the second phase, stretching from I-81 into the town, would be started.

County Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said that project had been pushed back to around 2017 or 2018, which drew gasps and murmurs from the audience.

Kroboth said the delay was due to budget constraints resulting from state funding cuts. The county had to shift projects back and had many other high-priority road projects to get to first, he said.

The commissioners also heard from Urban Growth Area Advisory Committee member Jerry Ditto about the importance of implementing a system of Transferable Development Rights, or TDR, into comprehensive rezoning efforts.

Ditto distributed minutes from a 2005 meeting in which a previous board of commissioners set development of a TDR program as a condition for implementing a rural area rezoning plan.

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