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Subdivision zoning change will keep out apartments

December 03, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A proposed zoning change will spell the end for future apartment buildings in the Fairground Heights subdivision.

The Martinsburg Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to recommend a zoning change that would prohibit the construction of new multi-famliy dwellings in the subdivision.

The final decision is now in the hands of the Martinsburg City Council which is expected to discuss the matter at its Jan. 14 meeting.

Made up mostly of single-family homes, Fairground Heights is a 35.18-acre subdivision bordered by Woodberry Avenue, East Street, Fair Street and Western Avenue.

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"It's like a ton of bricks off my shoulders," said Martinsburg City Councilman Glennville Twigg.

Twigg, who lives on Fair Street in the subdivision, lobbied for the zoning change four years ago. The request, however, was declined in 1994 by the city council.

Twigg said he plans to vote in favor of the zoning change and added he has majority support on the city council for the final vote.

"The planning commission recommendation will help pave the way for that," Twigg said.

About 25 residents of the subdivision filled the second-floor meeting room in City Hall Wednesday night and voiced concerns that future apartment buildings would lead to increased crime and decreased property values.

Twigg told the planning commission that an estimated 75 percent of the subdivision is in favor of the zoning change.

The properties are currently zoned Urban Residential Class B and would be changed to the more restrictive Urban Residential Class A.

While some speakers at Wednesday's meeting had questions about the proposed zoning change, no one spoke in direct opposition to the request.

Martinsburg City Engineer Michael M. Covell said the five properties in the subdivision that currently have multi-family dwellings would be allowed to remain as non-conforming structures.

Covell added the constitutionality of zoning changes has been upheld by previous West Virginia court decisions.

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