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Washington County briefs

June 14, 2011

Commissioners adopt water resources element

The Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to adopt a new, state-mandated “water resources element” as an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan.

County staff prepared the new element in response to a 2006 state law requiring counties and municipalities to analyze whether their water resources will be adequate for the land use proposed in their comprehensive plans.

The amendment was the subject of a June 7 public hearing and was recommended for approval by the Washington County Planning Commission.

Zoning overlay approved

The Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to formally approve an “industrial mineral” zoning overlay that will allow Martin Marietta Materials to mine an additional 77 acres west of the current Pinesburg Quarry near Williamsport.

The commissioners agreed to support the zoning at their June 7 meeting. Their vote Tuesday formalized the decision by approving a written decision and authorizing the change to be made to the zoning map.

Commissioners President Terry Baker voted against the approval.

After the meeting, Paxton Badham, Martin Marietta Materials’ vice president for environmental services and natural resources, invited the commissioners to visit the quarry sometime.

“We’re often cast as the bad guys, and no doubt quarrying is heavy industry and does have some impacts, but we do think we do a good job of dealing with them,” Badham said.

Badham also said previous reports that the company would not begin mining the new area for 15 to 20 years were incorrect. That is the time frame operations would have continued at the current quarry site, were the zoning overlay not approved, he said.

Mining at the new area will begin as soon as the company obtains a mining permit from the state, he said.

Hearing on Urban Growth Area planned

Washington County will hold another public hearing this summer on its proposed Urban Growth Area rezoning, a comprehensive rezoning of the area around Hagerstown, Williamsport and Funkstown to encourage development in those areas, Interim Planning Director Stephen Goodrich said Tuesday.

The public hearing likely will be scheduled for late July, and Goodrich identified late summer as a target for the Board of County Commissioners to approve the rezoning.

The update came during a work session Tuesday evening that served as the current board of commissioners’ first formal introduction to the UGA rezoning process, which has been under way since 2006.

Three commissioners to take first Direct Air flight

Three Washington County Commissioners will be on board the first Direct Air flight to Lakeland, Fla., on June 23 to meet with Lakeland officials and participate in a celebration of the new service, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said.

Commissioners President Terry Baker and commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham and John Barr will join Hagerstown Regional Airport Business Development Manager Greg Larsen in representing the county on the flight, Murray said. They will pay for their own tickets with personal funds, he said.

The June 23 flight to Lakeland is significant to the Lakeland community because it will be the first commercial flight into Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, according to Phil Ridenour, director of Hagerstown Regional Airport.

— Heather Keels

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