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Hagerstown City Council briefs

January 11, 2011

HAGERSTOWN — City Council backs demolition of part of Dual Highway hotel

The Hagerstown City Council indicated its support Tuesday for demolishing a portion of the Best Western Grand Venice Hotel on Dual Highway.

The hotel owner, Paradise Hospitality LLC, has proposed demolishing the 150-room motel portion that has not been used for the past five years, co-owner and General Manager Nithin Jayadeva said previously.

Because the hotel sits on an easement for a city drain, the city entered into an agreement with the previous hotel owners that required the hotel to seek written city council approval before demolishing any units that are within the easement, city documents said.

Likewise, if hotel owners want to rebuild on the site, they will need  council approval before starting construction, according to city documents.

City Economic Development Director Debbie Everhart said that city officials wanted to review any site plans before the hotel builds on the easement again.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II asked the council if it agreed with the demolition and was met with a general consensus.

The council did not support any construction in the easement Tuesday, only demolition of the existing motel portion and pool.

Councilmen William Breichner and Forrest W. Easton said that demolishing the motel portion would be an improvement of the property.

Everhart noted that the same agreement which required the owners to seek city approval also requires them to maintain the drain.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said after demolition the hotel would likely either leave the drain covered with a floor slab from the old motel or take steps to prevent someone from falling or jumping into the drain, such as fencing.

Council reviews revised animal control ordinance

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday reviewed the latest changes to Washington County's animal control ordinance.

Washington County Humane Society Executive Director Paul Miller and Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith attended Tuesday's council work session to answer any questions about the changes.

The revised ordinance became effective on Jan. 1, according to city documents.

Miller said the most notable change was creating a potentially viscous and dangerous designation for animals. Other changes included expanding options for dog licensing.

The new designation should allow officials to intervene and modify an animal's behavior before it becomes vicious or dangerous, he said.

Councilman Martin Brubaker questioned if the changes would affect how the city police department works with the humane society to enforce the ordinance.

Smith said there would be little change.

He said that owners of an animal declared viscous and dangerous would still be required to remove the animal from the city.

Owners of a potentially viscous and dangerous animal would not be held to the same requirement, he said.

Smith said City Attorney Mark Boyer is still reviewing whether the city council has to approve the updated animal control ordinance before it is enforceable within the city limits.

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