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Public hearing on proposed changes to multifamily housing requirements set for Tuesday

February 27, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Despite the current economic climate, developers have expressed interest in building multifamily apartment complexes in Hagerstown, a city official said Monday.

According to industry data, the multifamily developments component is the only area of the residential housing market that has shown a trend toward growth, Development Planner and Zoning Administrator Stephen R. Bockmiller said.

A public hearing is scheduled during Tuesday night’s Hagerstown City Council regular session to address amendments to the city’s multifamily dwelling design requirements that would improve future apartment designs, Bockmiller said.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 1 E. Franklin St.

Some multifamily complexes in the city are “inwardly focused” and “encourage an uncoordinated development of a site,” Bockmiller said.

As a preventive measure for the future, Bockmiller said the changes would make developers think beyond just the apartment building and parking to include more quality-of-life features, such as swimming pools, walking trails, courtyards and benches.

“If we get new site plans for multifamily dwellings, we would like the quality of the development to be as good as possible and make sure it fits within the community it is located,” he said.

The changes to the code stem from concerns identified through the implementation of multifamily communities built in the last 10 to 15 years, according to city documents.

Other proposed changes include building parking lots to the rear of developments, rather than in the front. New buildings will also need to have a “public view” design facing the street to create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape and defined spaces for amenities.

The city’s planning commission previously held a public hearing on the matter, and recommends approval of the proposal, city documents said.

Public hearings are scheduled in any event that involves changes to city codes, City Clerk Donna Spickler said.

If you go ...

What: Public hearing on amendments to the City of Hagerstown’s multifamily dwelling design requirements

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Council chambers, City Hall, 1 E. Franklin St.

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