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Zoning changes concern residents

June 09, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A member of the Jefferson County Planning Commission said he doesn't think there is much to worry about regarding a list of proposed changes in the county's zoning laws.

County residents packed a public meeting Tuesday night to express concerns about the changes, including one that would allow farmers to open meat processing facilities.

Last year, a Jefferson County farmer's plan to open a hog processing facility near Shepherdstown drew opposition from some neighbors, who worried about odors and about waste reaching ground water supplies.

Planning Commission member Dean Hockensmith said the meat processing facilities would be no different than a butchering area in a supermarket.

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"All you're doing is packaging meat. There's nothing to that. You could do that in your house," said Hockensmith, who is also a county commissioner.

Shepherdstown resident Alice Vantol asked the Planning Commission if there would be weight limitations in the facilities, but Hockensmith said such restrictions are unnecessary.

Speakers at Tuesday's meeting complained about a lack of information about the zoning changes and said they wanted to have an informational meeting to learn more about the changes.

No decision was made on an informational meeting, but the Planning Commission agreed to accept public comments on the changes for two weeks.

Planning Commission Chairman Scott Coyle refused to discuss the zoning changes Wednesday, saying he never talks openly about Planning Commission issues with the media.

Coyle said any questions to him about the zoning changes must be put in writing and sent to the Planning Commission office.

Planning Commission member Pete Smith said he was told the zoning changes were simply "housekeeping" matters designed to clarify language in the land-use laws.

Smith said he would not comment further because he is a relatively new member of the commission.

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