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City, residents frustrated by piles of rubble near Pangborn Park

Attorney for Pangborn Corp. says officials have contacted a contractor to come out and finish cleaning up property

April 14, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Several piles are in the open on the largely vacant tract at 580 Pangborn Blvd.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

Demolition of all but one large building on a former industrial property on Pangborn Boulevard was completed in 2012, but large piles of rubble remain on the land adjacent to Pangborn Park.

Several piles are in the open on the largely vacant tract at 580 Pangborn Blvd., and another clump of debris is piled up along a retaining wall that separates the property from a nearby apartment building on Lynnehaven Drive.

Kathleen A. Maher, manager of the city’s Planning and Code Administration Division, said in a recent email that the demolition began in 2011 and wrapped up in late 2012.

At least one area resident has expressed concern about the property being an eyesore and a potential nuisance to the area, believing the piles of rubble could harbor rodents.

John Lestitian, the city’s director of community and economic development, said in an email that city code officials periodically visit sites during demolition, and over the past year, city staff have visited Pangborn “numerous times.”

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“The site needs to be cleaned up,” Lestitian said. “The city has grown frustrated by the lack of progress, which has gone on for too long. The city extended a level of leniency to the Pangborn Corp. over the winter, but now it is spring and it is time for the owner to act.”

Since the land straddles city and county property, Maher said both entities have been in “back-and-forth” talks with the property’s owner, Pangborn Corp., on ways of dealing with the debris.

“It has taken some time to come up with a solution upon which all three parties can agree,” Maher said.

Lestitian said Pangborn officials should recognize the debris has a “negative, blighting impact” on the surrounding neighborhoods. He said he expects the company, although no longer in operation in Hagerstown, to still be a “good corporate citizen” and respect its neighbors.

“We do not want to see the business leave this as its legacy to the community,” Lestitian said. “If Pangborn fails to act, the city is prepared to pursue a remedy through the district court.”

City officials said they are not aware of any future redevelopment plans for the site beyond the owner’s desire to sell it.

Local attorney Jason Divelbiss, who represents Pangborn, said the cleanup initially was to take place as part of a sale of the property last year, but that deal fell through.

“(The cleanup) fell apart when that purchase contract was terminated, and that’s why there’s been this long period where nothing has happened,” he said.

To remedy the situation, Divelbiss said Pangborn officials have contacted a contractor to come out and finish cleaning up the property. The job should be completed within the next four to six months, he said.

The property is still listed for sale, according to Divelbiss, who said he was not aware of any outstanding violations against Pangborn’s demolition permits for the property.

As part of the city’s comprehensive rezoning in 2010, the land was rezoned professional office mixed-use from neighborhood mixed-use, which would allow offices and limited light manufacturing uses on the land, but no housing, Maher said.

A 5.16-acre tract of the 13-acre property was annexed into the city in late 2011, in conjunction with the rezoning, according to Herald-Mail archives.

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