While applauding Hagerstown residents and businesses’ eagerness to prepare for the 2024 solar eclipse, Brian Longbons is sounding a cautionary note. 

A second public planning meeting is planned for Thursday, Oct. 12.

“There is a lot of interest in people doing a lot of things” to welcome an expected horde of visitors during the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse. “We don’t want it to get out of control,” Longbons said during the Oct. 2 Hagerstown Town Council meeting. Longbons is council president pro tem and a Plan Commission member.

During its September meeting, Plan Commission talked about how to do that, Longbons said. Many residents want to sell things or have activities at their homes that the town’s zoning codes normally won’t allow, he said. One idea is to suspend zoning for days around the eclipse.

Longbons also suggested the town might want a registration system in place. The idea, he said, is to let authorities know what is going on in which parts of town, in case of emergencies or if visitors ask for the information.

Council agreed to discuss the matter at its work session on Monday, Oct. 16. That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall. 

An initial public planning meeting on Sept. 14 drew 95 to 100 residents, Heart of Hagerstown president Gary Schuette reported. Another public meeting hosted by that organization will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in The Meeting Place, 11 E. Main St. 

Eclipse Update

A planning meeting for Hagerstown’s preparations for the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse is planned at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in The Meeting Place, 11 E. Main St. 

Town Council will discuss ideas for putting some controls on eclipse activities during a work session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, in Town Hall, 49 E. College St. 

The public may attend both meetings.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 11 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.