County Proposes Re-Zoning for Four Areas

- HANCOCK, Md. - Washington County residents met with the county’s planning commission Wednesday night to discuss proposed zoning changes that are happening in four areas of the county.

Many residents came out to the Town of Hancock, to let the county planning commission know, they’re not on board with proposed changes that could re-zone their land from conservation to residential transition zone.

“We just want to be left alone out there; we just want to be our quite community, where everyone calls each other aunt, uncle, grandpa, grandma,” says Michelle Iden, a Washington County Resident.

Under the proposed changes, low density single family homes and developments would be allowed on a third of an acre. The minimum is now three acres.

County officials say the changes are necessary to keep up with growth in the area.

“In 1975, there were 40,000 less people and we project by 2040, 20 years from now there will be 50,000 more people so that means Washington County will be almost 200,000 people in size,” says Jill Baker, of the Washing County Planning Commission.

They say now is the time to plan for that growth, but many residents aren’t buying it.

“The economy is bad, nobody is moving to Hancock, our value went down, I don't know why they're doing this,” says Washington County resident Joanie Leavy.

Some worry the rezoning is all part of a plan to bring their property, under the Town of Hancock’s jurisdiction.

“To be honest I think that's the very first thing the town if Hancock is going to do, is annex us in and charge us taxes, once your in town corporation you have to pay town and county taxes right now we only pay county taxes,” says Iden.

County officials say that’s not the case and they want to work with residents.  

“I think that if we manage it will and work together as a community a d decide how to grow we can make this a much better place to live and work and play,” says Baker.

Washington County Commissioners will have the final say and hold a set of public hearings.

The planning commission is accepting comments from the public until September 13th

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