Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners Approve Amended Capital Improvement Plan Budget, Hear Community Strategic Plan Report

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Approve Amended Capital Improvement Plan Budget, Hear Community Strategic Plan Report

In its regular meeting on May 25th, the Washington County, Maryland Board of County Commissioners adopted an amended budget for the Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Year 2011.
Under discussion was funding for construction of a new access road at Hagerstown Community College, which is proposed to connect Varsity Lane off Robinwood Drive to the HCC campus through the former Mount Aetna Farms property.
Funding for the road would come from a series of project shifts in the proposed 6-year CIP, from project cost savings in the current fiscal year budget, reductions in current projects and potential federal grants. The compromise proposal, presented by Commissioner Bill Wivell, would also reduce borrowing for FY 2011 by $1 million.
The road project cost of $4.4 million would alter the previously proposed CIP total for FY 2011 of $55,302,500.00, due to funding coming from both fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray said that the final 2011 CIP is currently being completed and will be available next week.
The compromise plan would not purchase land for a school construction site as had been previously discussed.
The Board heard representatives of the United Way of Washington County and the Community Foundation of Washington County report on a proposed Strategic Community Impact Plan (SCIP).
That plan will update the original statistics identified by CHIEF in its Community Report Card, along with some new community indicators, as defined by the SCIP Steering Committee.
11 focus groups have been established, to gather input from various segments of the community, to assess current and future community needs. Focus groups have been charged with looking at education, employment, transportation, social well being, health, homelessness and hunger, elderly and people with disabilities, public safety, arts and culture, and civic engagement.
Through public, private and nonprofit collaboration, SCIP will establish community-wide goals and try to rally the resources to focus on those needs, over a 5-year period.
In other actions, the Commissioners welcomed Jason Shives and David Gross, newly employed as Parks Maintenance Workers. Human Resources Director Bill Sonnik introduced Leonard "Leo" Brosinsky, a German Foreign Exchange student serving as an unpaid two-week intern in Washington County Government. Leo is a 17-year-old 11th grader at Herderschule in Giessen, Germany, a town a little larger than Hagerstown near Frankfurt. He has been studying English for 7 years and is a guest of Peter and Cynthia Perini while in Hagerstown.
Commissioners took no position on a proposal to concur with the Historic District Commission's action to recommend listing of the South Mountain Battlefields in the National Register of Historic Places. In March the Commissioners were presented an opportunity to make a recommendation on the proposal to include those Battlefields in the National Register. There was concern that the listing would occur even though some private property owners were opposed, and that private property rights would change. County Commissioners directed staff to contact each property owner to determine their position on the proposed listing and report the results, before a recommendation was made.
Staff contacted each private property owner by mail, asking that owners indicate a preference for including their property in the district and their support for the entire application. Results indicated that less than 50% of owners wanted their properties included in the listing.
Commissioners called on the non-profit group Friends of South Mountain and the state South Mountain Battlefield Park, applicants for the National Register inclusion, to follow up with property owners and gather greater documented support for that action.
South Mountain Battlefields are proposed for listing in the National Register of Historic places because of their association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, in this case, military history.
The Board approved a contract award for Parcel Vectorization Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) Consultant Services to EA Engineering Science and Technology, Inc. of Sparks, MD in the amount of $57,428.10. The current project will result in development of a countywide property map layer of lot information contained within a vectorized parcel database. The firm will provide independent and unbiased QA/QC consultant services to coincide with the County's parcel vectorization project with Smart Data Strategies issued last December.
Commissioners approved Community Action Council's revised Service-Linked Housing application to the Department of Human Resources for FY 2011 and the forthcoming grant agreements.
The Service Linked Housing funding was reduced by 10% in November 2009 and eliminated by the state on March 31, 2010. Funding was restored in the Governor's 2011 Supplemental budget at the reduced amount of $36,320. The funding will cover the cost of salaries and fringe benefits and is leveraged with funding from the Rental Allowance Program, Gaming Commission, HUD Supportive Housing Program, and existing local government funding designated to serve the low-income population. No additional local government funding will be required.
The Board approved an application for the Maryland Neighborhood Conservation Initiative Program second amendment to grant agreement MD-NCI-4. The Washington County Board of County Commissioners is the grantee and the sub recipient is the Housing Authority of Washington County. This amendment allocates $65,000 in additional grant funds to the Housing Authority's Lease/Purchase program.
The Board heard a continuation of the Planning staff's presentation of the proposed Zoning Ordinance text and map amendments to implement the Comprehensive Plan recommendations regarding the Urban Growth Area, and the Urban Growth Area Advisory Committee (UGAAC) recommendations.
The session continued discussion of proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance text starting with the Airport district (AP). A five-mile oval around Hagerstown Regional Airport would be affected. High intensity residential development would be restricted and businesses would be subject to height requirements. An Airport Habitat Wildlife Management District would prohibit land use and business that attracted destructive wildlife to the airport area such as deer and some birds.
The Office Research and Technology (ORT) district would focus on campus-style settings for buildings. Heavy landscaping would be encouraged and a narrow user-list would be implemented.
Office Research and Industrial (ORI) would also encourage research and development enterprises, but would have a larger permitted use list to include large outdoor facilities such as commercial satellite dishes.
The Educational, Research and Technology district (ERI) would limit uses to higher education-linked development.