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Washington County Commissioners briefs

March 07, 2012

County OKs zoning change for potential Boonsboro land
If Boonsboro annexes a roughly 15-acre parcel at its northern border, the town has Washington County’s permission to immediately change the zoning to “town residential,” the Board of County Commissioners decided Tuesday.

Without their “express approval,” the town would have had to wait five years before making significant changes to the parcel’s zoning. The land is in the county’s agricultural zoning district.

The land is east of Alternate U.S. 40, within the town growth areas designated by the county and state. It is owned by Walter McKinney and proposed for use as an assisted-living or nursing home facility, according to the town’s annexation plan for the property. Such facilities are allowed as a special exception in both the county’s agricultural district and the town’s residential district, but higher residential development density is allowed within the town’s residential district, county Planning Director Stephen T. Goodrich said.

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The five-member board voted unanimously to grant approval for the change.

The Boonsboro Town Council will hold a public hearing on the annexation on April 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the community center in Shafer Memorial Park.

Public hearings to be held on two planned ordinances
The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to take two proposed ordinances to public hearings in the coming weeks.

One ordinance would modify the rules governing the county’s Economic Development Commission, and the other would allow the use of cameras to catch drivers illegally passing stopped school buses.

The proposed EDC ordinance revisions include a rule that would limit the 12-voting-member board to no more than three members who do not live in Washington County. Commissioners President Terry Baker has argued for a separate rule that no more than one of the board’s three officers could be from out of county, but Baker could not get a majority of the commissioners to support that idea.

The school bus camera ordinance was proposed after state lawmakers passed enabling legislation last spring allowing the camera use.

The cameras, to be installed on the outside of school buses, would be used to watch for vehicles that violate state law by failing to stop when a bus has its lights flashing and stop arm extended.

Dates for the hearings have not been announced.

Commissioners offer support for National Pike Festival
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to offer county support for the 24th annual National Pike Festival Wagon Train, scheduled for May 18 to 20.

During the event, wagons will travel 23 miles from Clear Spring to Boonsboro, participating in celebrations and activities at several stops along the route, organizer Jamie Baker said.

The commissioners agreed to allow event organizers to use the county mail room to mail registration materials, provide insurance for the event, and provide two deputies to assist with the event on May 19 and 20.

— Heather Keels

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