Plan for senior citizens' center in Hagerstown advances

December 19, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County has cleared the next hurdle in its pursuit of establishing a countywide senior citizens’ center in Hagerstown.

By a unanimous vote, Hagerstown’s Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday night granted an appeal made by the county Board of Commissioners for a special exception to operate a community/senior activities center at the former U.S. Army Reserve property on Willard Street.

The proposed use of a senior center on the 4.6-acre property at 21 Willard St., which is zoned Residential-Medium Density, adheres to the rules for a special exception and will serve to benefit the surrounding community, the board concluded during deliberations.

“I didn’t see anything of great concern about this application,” BZA member Travis W. Poole said prior to the 3-0 vote. “... There aren’t any of the negative aspects that we would consider prohibitive of a presumably valid use.”

The county commissioners on Nov. 27 voted 4-1 to purchase the property from the city in the amount of $625,000 using federal grant money that will expire Dec. 31.

On Dec. 4, the Hagerstown City Council approved a motion, 3-2, to authorize the city to enter into a sale agreement with the county.

BZA members concluded that the property is positioned well to handle traffic associated with the proposed center and ample on-site parking will be available to users.

It will cause little to no external effects on the surrounding community in terms of dust and odor, and noise should not be an issue as well, according to the board’s deliberations.

County Administrator Gregory B. Murray and Deputy County Attorney Kirk C. Downey attended the meeting on behalf of the five commissioners.

Murray said the decision allows the county to finalize its purchase agreement with the city and then enter the design phase.

Asked when the center might be ready for use, Murray estimated that construction should be underway within 12 months after designs are finalized.

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