Hagerstown City Council briefs - Feb. 25

February 24, 2011

Wind, solar generators approved

Wind and solar generators are now permissible in Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance to regulate the use of wind and solar generators in all zoning districts.

Debated for months, the ordinance approved by the council will be effective starting March 24, according to city documents.

The new ordinance establishes guidelines for property owners who want to install the alternative energy generators, including limiting size and scope.

City Planning Director Kathy Maher said previously that the city has not yet seen a surge of requests to install such energy systems, but the planning staff drafted the ordinance in anticipation of demand.

Councilman Forrest W. Easton was absent.

City seeks light grant

Hagerstown will apply for a grant to replace lights in one of its parking decks with energy-efficient alternatives.

The Hagerstown City Council voted Tuesday to apply for a $69,000 grant from the Maryland Clean Energy Center to replace the current halide lights with LED, or Light Emitting Diode,  lights, according to city documents.

No matching funds will be required if the state awards the grant to Hagerstown, the documents said.

However, the grant will only purchase the lights. The will provide labor, equipment and other materials, according to the document.

Councilman Forrest W. Easton was absent.  

City gardening task force

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday established a task force to work toward consolidating city garden programs and educating the public on local food production to enhance livability in the city.

Known as the Food Network Task Force, the panel appointed by the council will prepare a series of recommendations to the mayor and the five-member council for developing a plan to achieve set goals.

The task force will be active for one year from Feb. 22, city documents said.

Those appointed to the new task force include:

  • Will Godwin of the Dig In program and the Master Gardeners Association
  • Dave Jordan from the Community Action Council
  • Carolyn Brooks of CSAFE and the Hagerstown Housing Authority
  • Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham
  • Gordon and Janet Bartels, who represent CSAFE and the gardeners association
  • Carrie Plymire of the Western Maryland Regional Library and the Paramount Elementary/Holly Place gardening program
  • Richard Willson of the Housing Authority of Washington County.

City gives up alley

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday released all interest in part of an unimproved alley behind the former View Street Diner.

The council voted to authorize a quit claim deed releasing its ownership in the alley to the adjoining property owner.

The owners of 800 View St. requested the city release its interest in the alley, which runs behind 800 View St. and is bordered by the CSX railroad tracks, according to city documents.

During discussion on Feb. 16, the council determined that a portion of the alley was no longer serving a public interest.

Council members were concerned about adjacent property owners who use the unimproved alley for access the rear of their properties and only agreed to give up ownership of the portion of the alley directly behind the former View Street Diner.

Thermostat grant accepted

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday formally accepted a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration that enables the Hagerstown Light Department to replace thermostats in 100 owner-occupied customers homes.

The $35,000 grant will be used to purchase and install the thermostats.

City Utility Director Mike Spiker said previously that the city estimates the cost of the new thermostats at $350. Each thermostat will be programmable, digital and energy efficient, he said previously.

The city has received bids for the project and expects to have a contract by the end of the month, Spiker said previously.

Once the contract is in place, the city will inform residents about how they can apply for a new thermostat.

Spiker said previously that only customers of the Hagerstown Light Department are eligible for the grant program.

To be eligible, applicants must own their homes, have existing thermostats and make less than $72,850 in combined household income per year, he has said.

— Kate S. Alexander

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