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City of Hagerstown planner offers suggested revisions to proposed Land Management Code

Changes include two new definitions for industrial uses in the city's zoning code for a 'junkyard' and a 'warehouse'

August 21, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

Prompted by a recent complaint about a business on North Prospect Street, a City of Hagerstown planning official presented three suggested revisions to the city’s proposed Land Management Code during a city council work session meeting Tuesday.

City Planning Director Kathleen Maher shared the revisions with the five-member city council, which included two new definitions for industrial uses in the city’s zoning code for a “junkyard” and a “warehouse.”

A “junkyard,” which is not permitted in the city, includes processing on-site but not storage, while a “warehouse” would permit temporary storage but not on-site processing, she said.

Warehousing facilities — inside or outside — are permitted in the city, but a junkyard is not, Maher said. A definition for junkyards is needed to allow the city to enforce its zoning code, she said.

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Recent discussions also prompted clarification for indoor recycling facilities that accept materials but do not collect them on their own. Those facilities would be limited to the city’s Industrial-General zoning district as a permitted use, Maher said.

Maher said the proposed definitions for a “junkyard” and a “warehouse” were needed to help differentiate between the two uses after recent discussions prompted by a complaint about a scrap-metal business on North Prospect Street in the city’s Industrial-Restricted zoning district.

A resident who lives near the scrap business, Hub Scrap Metals LLC, told the city council about 10 days ago that the business, located next to a rail yard between North Burhans Boulevard and North Prospect Street, causes excessive noise and is a nuisance at all hours of the day.

She claimed the business shouldn’t be allowed to operate in the zoning district because it is a scrap yard, not an outdoor warehousing facility and transfer station, as it was deemed by the city.

Hub Scrap President Greg Dahbura said recently that the business — a transfer station for presorted scrap materials that are trucked in and later shipped out by rail cars or other trucks — is working to be in full compliance with the city’s zoning codes.

The city originally allowed Hub Scrap to begin operations without an approved site plan in late 2010 because company officials told the city that all land used for the temporary storage of materials was blacktopped and a scalehouse on the property would be rebuilt on its original footprint.

Zoning citations were issued soon afterward, accusing the company of running a scrap yard, which was not permitted in the  Industrial-Restricted zoning district.

After several delays, Hub Scrap submitted a site plan to the city this spring, and it has since been approved by the city’s planning commission.

City staff have been checking in weekly at the business to ensure it is working toward full compliance with the site plan, as well as being a “good corporate neighbor” to nearby residents, Maher said recently.

The city council had a couple of questions for each definition, but ultimately gave city staff the OK to proceed with the definitions as presented in its Land Management Code amendments, which are scheduled to be introduced in full at the Aug. 28 city council meeting.

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