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400 homes on tap in Jefferson

August 15, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A developer is planning to add 400 more homes in the Locust Hills subdivision near Charles Town during the next five years.

HLM Developers will feature homes from 1,850 feet to 2,700 feet on sites up to half an acre, said project manager Stephen Mitchell.

The homes will be priced between $159,500 and $199,500, Mitchell said.

The Locust Hills Golf Course and surrounding community were established around 1992 with plans to build more than 600 homes and town homes.

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A bank later took over the project and HLM acquired it on Aug. 1.

Mitchell said that he sees a huge potential for growth in Jefferson County.

"I see Jefferson County as the next bedroom community of the Washington metro area. With its great location and the renovation of the race track, I think it's due for real growth," he said.

Mitchell said he also believes the community will be a draw for retirees who wish to move farther away from Washington, but also want to remain within an hour's drive of their families.

"These are people who don't need to be in the hustle and bustle of D.C.," Mitchell said.

Paul J. Raco, director of planning and zoning, said he does not believe the subdivision will cause problems for the county.

The subdivision, located off W.Va. 51, has its own water and sewer services, Raco said.

The plan had gone through the review process when Locust Hills was first proposed in 1988, he said.

"I'd rather see 400 homes go where the infrastructure is there than 400 homes shotgunned across the county," Raco said.

Other large subdivision plans have been announced in recent years, Raco said.

"You've got a real good supply of housing in the county right now coming on line. If you're planning on building a house within 100 miles of D.C., this is the place to build it," Raco said.

Raco said the impact of the new housing will depend on how quickly the 452 lots are sold.

Jefferson County School Superintendent David W. Markoe said that he estimates the subdivison could add, each year, 25 children to the elementary schools, 12 children to the middle schools and 14 high school students.

Markoe, who became superintendent earlier this year, said he sees Jefferson as being in a similar position as Frederick County, Md., a few years ago, when it was on the verge of tremendous growth.

"I'm sensitive to that since I just came from a system that had tremendous problems with that," Markoe said.

Markoe said he intends to meet with planning officials and others to come up with long-term plans about the future education needs of the county.

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