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Corsi's Pizza might return if rezoning request OK'd

September 21, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • The former Corsi's Pizza Parlour in Hagerstown was sold at auction in March. Rusty Stoner of Williamsport became the winner with his $99,000 bid.
File photo,

The former Corsi's Pizza Parlour on Maryland Avenue could reopen as a restaurant if a proposed zoning overlay passes city muster.

The Hagerstown Planning Commission on Sept. 15 discussed applying a local conversion overlay district to the property at 991 Maryland Ave. (also 202 W. Wilson Blvd.) to allow it to again operate with mixed uses.

The overlay would not affect the zoning of other properties in the neighborhood.

Local conversion districts allow adaptive reuse of existing nonresidential and mixed-use structures in residential districts, according to city documents.

Corsi's Pizza operated out of the basement of a two-story home, making it a nonconforming use in a residential district, City Planning Director Kathy Maher said.

The family-operated business closed in June 2008 after nearly 50 years. A year later, the nonconforming use expired, City Zoning Administrator Steve Bockmiller said.

The property sold at auction in March to Williamsport real estate investor Rusty Stoner.

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Bockmiller said Stoner has applied to have a local conversion overlay district applied to the property so he can reopen it as a restaurant.

Stoner said he wants to reopen the restaurant under the old name, Corsi's Pizza Parlour, as soon as possible.

When he saw how selling the property affected Peggy Corsi, and knowing how much he enjoyed eating at the small restaurant, it hit home for Stoner, he said.

"This is not just an investment anymore," he said. "This is closer to the heart."

With the overlay request still in the hands of the planning commission, it is too early to set a timeline for reopening, but Stoner said he is optimistic the city will approve.

Planning staff presented the planning commission with seven conditions it wanted placed on Stoner's request for the overlay.

Key changes recommended by staff included removing existing tube lighting and metal and plastic signs, and replacing those with indirect lighting and signage in keeping with the character of a residential community, Bockmiller said. He said an example would be a wooden sign illuminated by a flood light.

While the fluorescent lights and "Pizza Corsi's Subs" sign was part of the Italian restaurant for years, Bockmiller said staff felt it was important for the new restaurant to be a good neighbor by updating the signs and lighting.

Maher said the property has room on the side for a new sign.

Staff also suggested a 6-foot privacy fence to screen the parking lot from the adjacent home, removing a rusted chain-link fence near the front of the property and reconfiguring the 14 parking spaces and access to the parking lot off Maryland Avenue to conform to current city parking standards, Bockmiller said.

Reconfiguring the parking to meet the required 18-foot length for each space would make two of the spaces inaccessible, so staff recommended that as a possible location for a trash container, Maher said.

The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the overlay district request on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., Maher said.

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