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Bowling alley annexation request withdrawn

August 10, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • The former Long Meadow Bowl building on Leitersburg Pike is the proposed site for a family entertainment center.
File photo,

A request for Hagerstown to annex a proposed bowling alley parcel was withdrawn Monday, one day before the city council was going to discuss it.

Aristodemos Capital Group LLC, the property owner, plans to open a tenpin bowling alley on Leitersburg Pike, where Long Meadow Bowl, a duckpin alley, closed in 2009 after 38 years.

Besides bowling, the new Seven Ten Family Entertainment Center would have an arcade and a dining area.

Ash Azadi, Aristodemos Capital Group's managing partner, has said a nightclub would open later at the site.

The parcel, next to Long Meadow Shopping Center, is in Washington County. Azadi asked in April to be annexed and get a five-year city property tax waiver.

In a letter to the city Monday, Azadi asked to withdraw the application, but didn't explain why.

Reached Tuesday evening, he had no additional comment.

Kathleen Maher, the city's planning director, said Azadi more recently asked for a 10-year tax abatement and tied it to annexation.

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The city's planning staff recommended that the council reject the tax-waiver request.

A planning department memo says: "City staff feels that while it is of great benefit to the City of Hagerstown to have control over this property located in a major commercial gateway area on our border, the requested property tax waiver is not sound policy under the circumstances. The property is already completely developed and is currently receiving all eligible City services except police. The property should pay for services rendered in the same manner as the rest of our corporate citizens."

The memo suggested a phased-in tax break over five years as a possible alternative.

Annexation would determine where the property lies, but doesn't necessarily affect the bowling alley plan.

In a July 28 letter to Maher, Azadi wrote: "Our approved project through the County still allows us to continue with our plans of our family entertainment center and with the anticipation of creating approximately 54 fulltime and part time jobs, I believe it would in the City's best interest to consider and approve our request."

He wrote that the annexation application was "contingent upon our tax abatement request being approved by Mayor and City council."

At a public hearing last month, some local residents said they were concerned about the possible nightclub.

The planning department memo says Washington County will let the bowling alley plan be grandfathered, using existing parking. However, a nightclub must meet current zoning standards.

Daniel F. DiVito, the county's permits and inspections director, has said the parking there is insufficient for both a nightclub and a bowling alley.

Access also has been an issue. In the past, Leitersburg Pike traffic entered the site through Long Meadow Shopping Center, but it's unclear if the shopping center owner would allow that now.

DiVito has said access will have to be from Oak Hill Avenue, which runs behind the shopping center.

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