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Community Rescue Service won't need variance if Maugansville house is torn down

Ambulance service would be able to proceed with plans to build station on Village Mill Road

December 15, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Despite being denied a variance request Wednesday night as part of a plan to build a new ambulance station on Village Mill Road in Maugansville, the Community Rescue Service can proceed with the project if a house on the property is torn down, according to Washington County's zoning coordinator.

The only reason the rescue service needed a variance was because the ambulance station and a house would be on the same property under a plan rejected Wednesday night by the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals, Kathy Kroboth said.

There was not enough square footage on the property for both structures under county regulations, so the rescue service was asking for a permission to allow both of them, Kroboth said.

Although the zoning appeals board denied the variance request, the rescue service can continue with the station if L. Jason Baer's house is torn down, she said.

R. David Hays, assistant chief of operations for the Community Rescue Service, said Thursday afternoon that there have been no new developments regarding the proposal. He said rescue service officials are reflecting on how "the vote came about."

Hays said he had not spoken to Baer Thursday, but would probably talk with him next week.

The board of directors for Community Rescue Service is expected to meet next week to decide how to proceed, he said.

Baer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The rescue service has proposed building 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.

About 50 people attended the appeals board hearing Wednesday in the Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting room in Hagerstown, with several Maugansville area residents speaking out against the variance request.

Residents said 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 in parts of Maugansville.

Hays said during Wednesday's hearing that he will talk to his board of directors about the issues raised by residents and expressed hope that some of them can be worked out.

"This is not personal folks," Hays said. "Give us a chance to be good neighbors."

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