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Proposal expected to increase traffic on Robinwood

August 30, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday night on a change to a planned development off Robinwood Drive that could more than double the amount of traffic generated by a portion of that development.

Washco Developments Inc. wants to substitute 10 professional buildings for the 52 town houses it had planned to build along a new road called Capital Lane as part of the mixed-use Rosewood Village Development, according to a report from Washington County planning staff.

That change would increase the amount of traffic from that street to an estimated 1,213.8 trips per day, compared to the 382.5 trips per day estimated for the town homes, according to a July 16 letter from Sassan Shaool of Washco Developments.

Rosewood Village is a PUD, or Planned Unit Development, that was approved in 1999 for 520 residential units and two commercial areas, according to background in a report from Washington County Chief Planner Tim Lung. The development is to be built on 79 acres on the west side of Robinwood Drive between Robinwood Medical Campus and Hagerstown Community College.

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In the original plan, commercial uses would have made up 10 percent of the total area, Lung wrote. That is the maximum percentage of commercial use permitted in a PUD, according to the county zoning ordinance, he wrote.

In February, the Washington County Planning Commission approved a change that increased the percentage of commercial area to 12 percent, deeming that a "minor change" that did not require a public hearing, Lung wrote.

The latest proposed change, replacing the 52 town homes with offices, would increase the percentage of commercial use to 17.89 percent of the land area, he wrote.

"Upon review of the request ... the Planning Commission ruled that while they were generally not opposed to the requested change, they believe that the change for an additional 6% (commercial use) was not minor and should be taken to public hearing," Lung wrote.

The developer justified the proposed change based on the change in character of the area.

"With the final construction and relocation of the hospital, the improvements to Robinwood Drive and the future development and connection of Varsity Lane, we feel that this area will be better suited for a commercial use," Shaool wrote in his letter.

Reached by phone Friday, Shaool said the office buildings would probably be used for medical and medicine-related businesses, such as medical billing offices and insurance companies.

The office buildings are described in the letter as "town home-style." Shaool said Friday that means they would have a pitched roof and residential-style exterior, but they would be exclusively for commercial use.

Mark Stransky, a plan reviewer with the Washington County Land Development Engineering department, wrote that the change would result in a significant increase in traffic and that the county would require a revised traffic study as a condition of site plan approval.

The developer is already paying for a traffic signal to be installed at the intersection of Robinwood Drive and Varsity Lane, the entrance to the Rosewood development, Stransky said Friday. The revised traffic study will help determine if any other on- or off-site traffic improvements are needed as a result of the increased commercial development, he said.

The public hearing today will be followed by a public hearing on proposed updates to the Washington County Water and Sewerage Plan.

Details on both issues are available at http://www.washco-md.net.




If you go...



What: Public hearing on a proposed revision to the Rosewood Village PUD Development Plan, and on a comprehensive amendment to the Washington County Water and Sewerage Plan

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Washington County Courthouse, 24 Summit Ave. in Hagerstown, courtroom 1

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