A new building commissioner for Hagerstown will be in place within a month, if all goes according to plan.

For five months, the Town Council has been looking to replace Bob Bullock when he retires. It appears that the lone applicant for the job, Terry Ford, will be hired by the council Oct. 2.

The town’s Area Plan Commission met with Ford and gave Ford its recommendation, according to Chris Cenova, Plan Commission president, told the council on Sept. 5. The building commissioner works directly with the Plan Commission and the town Board of Zoning Appeals.

Ford is an electrician who worked for the town electric utility in 2008-09, Cenova told the council. He has been doing mostly commercial electric work. “He is eminently qualified,” Cenova added.

The town council was to meet with Ford in a closed-door executive session Sept. 12, according to town council president Becky Diercks. She scheduled council approval of Ford’s contract for its Oct. 2 meeting.

The council also reviewed changes made in April to the town code regarding the building commissioner. They made the building commissioner responsible directly to the council, instead of the town manager. The job will be an “at will” position, meaning they could be replaced at any time by the council. The job had previously been a lifetime appointment. The revised ordinance also requires the commissioner’s attendance at all regular APC and BZA meetings.

Along with serving as staff for the APC and BZA, the town building commissioner issues building permits, inspects construction and remodeling projects and deals with many other issues. The commissioner’s jurisdiction extends to a two-mile fringe area in Wayne County outside of town limits. The part-time position has been paid $10,000 annually.

Bullock has held the position for 23 years. He had indicated earlier this year that he planned to retire, according to council discussion in April.

In other business on Sept. 5, the council approved letting the police department buy five mobile radios for police vehicles for $21,934.05. Police Chief Keith Folkner said the department bought 10 portable radios with proceeds from a grant. The additional purchase will allow HPD to replace all of its radios to be compatible with a new system that will be used by other Wayne County law enforcement agencies.

The council’s next regular meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, in Town Hall, 49 E. College St. The council plans to approve the town’s 2024 budget then. The public may attend.

Community meeting set Sept. 14 for eclipse planning

The public is invited to an informational meeting about plans for the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse. It will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in The Meeting Place, 11 E. Main St., Hagerstown.

The town had a couple of meetings in which people talked about bringing food trucks and entertainment to the town. Now, a group has been organized to push those plans forward. A logo for the town’s celebration was unveiled on Aug. 19, during the Jubilee Days festival.

The Heart of Hagerstown business organization is hosting a meeting for local business owners and managers on Wednesday, Sept. 13, according to its president, Gary Schuette, adding that the group will host Thursday’s meeting.

On April 8, 2024, the Hagerstown area will be in the eclipse’s “path of totality” where the shadow of the moon will totally block the sun for about four minutes. Based on attendance at a 2017 eclipse, as many as 100,000 visitors are expected to visit Wayne County to watch the celestial event.

Egg farm hearing is Sept. 20

A farmer’s proposal for an egg farm is scheduled for a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, It is the third time the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals has scheduled the meeting.

Gideon and Anna Ebersol want to put up a large barn to house up to 20,000 hens on their farm east of town at 12627 State Road 38. They’re asking the zoning board to allow a variance to the zoning code for that many chickens.

The meeting has been postponed twice because of irregularities in notifying adjacent property owners of the hearing.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 13 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.