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Board of County Commissioners' Actions:Commissioners hear from public on road closure

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners hear from public on road closure, See report on Devil's Backbone Dam, Approve FCC Tower application

In its regular meeting on July 13th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners gathered public input on a proposal to close and relocate a portion of Old Forge Road.
The portion of the road to be closed and relocated begins at the intersection of Old Forge Road and Shiloh Church Road, east to a point approximately 1,000 feet west of the intersection of Old Forge Road and Navy Way, consisting of approximately 1.13 miles of roadway.
The Holcim Cement Company has submitted a request to the County to close and relocate a portion of Old Forge Road. Holcim has agreed to convey the right-of-way requirements for the future Eastern Boulevard Extended Project; to lease approximately 90 acres of land to the County for a future public park and recreation area; and to convey the right-of-way requirements for, and to construct a new relocated Old Forge Road compliant with current highway design standards at no cost to the County.
No one testified against the proposal. One person stated approval for the proposal. Five persons appeared at the hearing requesting information relative to a possible subdivision entrance. That roadway was not part of the Public Hearing as advertised.
Following the Public Hearing the Commissioners approved the proposal, with the provision that an additional Public Hearing be held before any spur road to the affected neighborhood was planned.
Commissioners authorized the acceptance of a State Grant and execution of a Capital Projects Grant Agreement with the State Board of Public Works for up to $550,000 of matching funds for one of three alternatives for repair or removal of the dam at Devil's Backbone Park, and requested clarification of the word "repair" as used in the Senate Bill authorizing those funds.
The Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE) Dam Safety Division directed the County to make repairs to Devils Backbone Dam in a Notice of Violation and Corrective Order (Order) dated February 16, 2010; received on February 23, 2010. The Order requires that the County monitor the Dam on a daily basis. The Order allows the County 120 days from receipt of the Order to submit plans and permit application for remediation. The Order further requires the County to commence construction within 30 days of receipt of the permit and complete construction within 180 days of the effective date of the permit.
Consultants Wallace, Montgomery & Associates, LLP presented a report on repair/removal analysis of that dam. Removal of the dam would require nearly one mile of stream bank restoration and would affect accessible features of the park as well as recreational fishing. Cost for that option would be $2.61 million. Partial removal would lessen stress on the structure, estimated between 100 and 200 years old, and would be slightly less costly, at $1.8 million. Repairing the dam would be the most cost effective at $845,000 and would preserve the integrity of the park.
Public Works Director Joe Kroboth told the Board that American Rivers, Inc., a non-profit group that said it could provide grant funding for removal, has not been forthcoming with information on two occasions. If the Board chose removal as the option, the group would be contacted again about that funding possibility.
A number of state offices and organizations will be involved in the final decision from historical and environmental perspectives. Staff was directed to make additional contact with the Maryland Historic Trust to get that office's position on the alternatives and report back to the Board at a later date.
The Board approved moving forward with an application to the Federal Communications Commission for construction of the final Public Safety Communications tower in the new County-wide system, in the southernmost portion of the County.
Motorola, which has constructed the new system, offered to build the Tower at no cost to the County, but delays placed that agreement in jeopardy. The site has been the subject of public meetings and negotiations with the National Park Service for over two years. The first site selected drew 160 negative comments from the public and organizations in 2008. The current site drew only 16 negative comments.
The application will be completed and forwarded to the FCC, which will conduct its own study on impact the tower would have on historic properties and other radio communications.
Carroll Earp of Hagerstown commented on the recent fire in Black Rock Estates and lack of water pressure at those hydrants. The City of Hagerstown provides water service for that location.
Commissioners approved a request to advertise a vacant Motor Equipment Operator II position at Central Section of the Highways Department.
The Board granted express approval to three annexations.
The Town of Keedysville received a petition for annexation of approximately 18.5 acres of land located on the east side of the current municipal boundary at the end of Main Street on both sides of Maryland Route 34. The property is currently vacant and a Booster/Pump station is proposed to be located on a portion of the property as part of an upgrade to its water system.
Commissioners granted express approval for zoning proposed for property located north of the current City of Hagerstown adjacent to the Longmeadow Shopping Center. The old Allegheny Optical building is to the North, Leitersburg Pike and Stone House Square to the east, Longmeadow to the south and Oak Hill Drive to the west. The property is currently the site of the Longmeadow Bowing Alley and an office building along Oak Hill.
The applicant requested C2, Commercial General, upon annexation under the City of Hagerstown. The property is zoned BL (Business Local) currently under the
County zoning ordinance, which permits the existing bowling alley and office uses.
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