A unanimous vote after a 15-minute discussion ended a four-month quest for a zoning variance for a Hagerstown-area farmer. 

The Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-0 on Oct. 25 in favor of Gideon and Anna Ebersol’s request for a zoning variance that will allow them to keep up to 20,000 chickens on their farm. They are planning an egg farm on their land at 12627 State Road 38 East. 

WWN graphic by Mike Emery

Neighbors at the hearing dropped previous objections after BZA Chairman Rick Cole said the Ebersols changed where the 55-by-520-foot barn will be built. Originally, it would have been visible behind three houses that front onto State Road 38. At a Sept. 20 BZA hearing, some neighbors said it might lower their property values. BZA members encouraged the Ebersols to ask the company that will own the chickens and eggs if the barn’s location could be changed.

Since then, the Ebersols arranged with the New York-based egg company to relocate the barn. It will be directly behind the Ebersols’ house, out of the neighbors’ direct line of vision.

Just before the vote, one neighbor thanked the Ebersols and the BZA for their consideration of their concerns.

The BZA had originally scheduled a public hearing for the Ebersols’ request in July. The board tabled action when some neighbors said they did not receive proper notice of the meeting. The BZA canceled its August meeting over similar questions about notice. 

After the vote, Gideon Ebersol said BZA approval clears the way for him to finalize financial arrangements and start construction. 

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A version of this article appeared in the November 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.