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Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals denies rescue station variance

December 14, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • The Community Rescue Service on Eastern Boulevard in Hagerstown is shown in this June file photo. The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday night denied a variance that would have allowed a new Community Rescue Service ambulance station to be built on Village Mill Road in Maugansville.
Herald-Mail file photo

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday night denied a variance that would have allowed a new Community Rescue Service ambulance station to be built on Village Mill Road in Maugansville.

The board denied the variance on a 3-2 vote after about 50 people filled the Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting room in Hagerstown during a hearing on the proposal.

Several Maugansville area residents spoke against the variance request, saying they were worried about ambulance sirens "screaming down the street," how the station would affect the property values of nearby homes and how it would operate amid already tricky traffic conditions.

Wayne Frazee said his bedroom window would be about 60 yards from the proposed station.

Frazee acknowledged the financial constraints the Community Rescue Service faces to find a site for its station, but said he has his own concerns.

"They have financial concerns, but I also have financial concerns (for my) property values," Frazee told the board.

The station was proposed to be built on the property of L. Jason Baer at 13632 Village Mill Road, and Frazee said Baer has been a good neighbor.

"It's a good community. It's just the wrong place for an ambulance," Frazee said.

Hope Mothershed, who lives across the street from Baer's property, said she runs an in-home day care center that would suffer if the ambulance station is built. Children in the day care center would not be able to sleep, and parents of the children would not want their kids going to a neighborhood with "sirens screaming down the street," Mothershed said.

Mothershed's husband, Robert, presented the board with a petition containing signatures of 61 people who opposed the project.

Robert Mothershed said "never in my wildest dreams" did he think that an ambulance station would be allowed to be built across from his home.

The Community Rescue Service was proposing to build a two-bay ambulance station close to Baer's existing house, according to plans on file at the Washington County Department of Planning and Zoning.

 Baer would continue living in the house. Once he moved away or died, the rescue service would tear the house down.

 The proposal first needed a variance because the lot size was not large enough for both the house and a new ambulance station.

Hampton Wedlock, one of the board members who voted against the variance, said he could understand the concerns of the citizens.

Board member Matthew Harsh, who also voted against the variance, said he felt "conflicted" over the issue.

The Community Rescue Service has 30 days to appeal the decision to Washington County Circuit Court.

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