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Article Archive >> In Your County

Board of County Commissioners' Actions:Commissioners Discuss Urban Zoning, Meet in Clear Spring

Caption: County Commissioners Meet in Clear Spring


Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Discuss Urban Zoning, Meet in Clear Spring

In its regular meeting on June 1st, the Washington County, Maryland Board of County Commissioners heard the annual report on the fourth in a series of workshops on the Urban Growth Area (UGA) rezoning recommendations was held. The Urban Growth Area Advisory Committee (UGAAC), appointed by the County Commissioners in July of 2007, presented its final report on proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance on September 15th, 2009. The workshop sessions allow a more detailed explanation of the proposed amendments, the UGAAC's recommendations and a general discussion.
37 properties reviewed by the Planning Commission showed a need for rezoning given differences in use over time or definitions of allowed activities per zoning district.
Public meetings are planned in the coming months, to gather citizen input on the plan, and a Public Hearing will take place prior to adoption of the final plan. Chief Planner Steve Goodrich told the Board that each owner whose property will be affected by zoning district change or significant change in the text of the zoning amendments will be notified by letter.
In other actions, the Board conducted a Public Hearing on a Community Development Block Grant application on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club, Inc. of Washington County. Commissioners approved submission of the application to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development ("DHCD") for a grant in the amount of amount of $184,000 to provide emergency funding for the club's programs serving Cascade and Hancock. The request will supply funding for a two year period to provide after school programs to 60 children attending Cascade Elementary School, Hancock Elementary School, and Hancock Middle/Senior High School. Upon grant approval from DHCD, the Board of County Commissioners will serve at the recipient and Boys and Girls Club of Washington County will be the sub-recipient of the grant.
The Board approved award of the Base Bid and Alternate #1 Bid for the Smithsburg School Complex Signal and Access Improvements contract to Huntzberry Brothers, Inc., of Smithsburg, in the combined total amount of $356,113.00.
The project includes the installation of new traffic signals and associated equipment; grading and drainage improvements; road work improvements including construction of concrete curb and sidewalk, new signage, HMA paving, and pavement markings along North Main Street in Smithsburg, in the vicinity of the existing school entrances.
This is a budgeted CIP Project with an unencumbered balance of $208,194.88. Development Facilitators, Inc. (DFI) will perform inspection for approximately $27,449.00. The Washington County Board of Education will contribute up to $300,000.00, and the Town of Smithsburg will contribute up to $30,056.00.
Program Open Space (POS) fund allocations to municipalities and the County were approved. $262,000 in requests for park development funds were previously approved by the Recreation and Parks Board. The Towns of Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Smithsburg, Williamsport and Funkstown as well as the County and the Board of Education made requests. Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Jim Sterling told the Board that the funding, although requested for Calendar Year 2011, might not be available until the start of Fiscal Year 2012.
POS funds are made available through a state program and are used for development and acquisition of parkland.
Award of a bid contract for the Transit Transfer Center and lot failed after a vote tied at 2-2. Commissioners' President John Barr abstained due for business reasons. The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a Neighborhood Conservation Initiative (NCI) block grant, with County match. Further discussion on the issue will be scheduled.
A Certificate of Merit was presented to Leo Brosinsky for successful completion of the International Student Exchange Program internship with the Washington County Humans Resources Department. The 17-year old student from Germany served a two-week program of education and service with the County.
Clear Spring's Mayor and Council played host to an evening meeting of the Board, at the Branch Library in that community.
Board and Commission appointments included reappointment of Kim Mills to a second term on the Local Management Board, reappointment of David Pool to the Social Services Board, and appointments of Jay Seipler and Kevin Boyer to the Disability Advisory Committee.
Commissioner Kercheval reported that the Hagerstown-Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO) Long-Range Transportation Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation without comment. Commissioner's President John Barr lauded Kercheval for his work with the MPO and the many hours spent on that project. Barr also reported that the 1st Energy Corporation transition plan will return the local district concept to the region when it takes over from Allegheny Energy as a major electric provider.
A change order in the amount of $35,569 was approved as closeout of the FY 2010 Pavement Maintenance contract. County Administrator Greg Murray also requested that the amount be carried over to the FY 2011 budget for that activity.
Options for waiver or donation of funds to offset excise taxes for a Bread and Breakfast in Williamsport will be explored. The Candlelight Inn is recognized by the Mayor and Council of that town as new economic development, but the town had expended the Hotel-Motel tax revenue provided to assist in promotion of tourism-related projects.
Application for a Community-Oriented Policing and Crime Prevention grant was approved in the amount of $590,640. Sheriff Doug Mullendore told the Board that the funds would pay for 3 deputies for three years to assist in community policing. Funding became available during a second round of grant applications.
Under Citizens' Participation, Jerry Ditto of Clear Spring commented on an environmental plan for streams and tributaries, and on possible rezoning in the Urban Growth Area with regard to wildlife management in the Airport Zone.

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