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Resolution calls for growth plan

July 12, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Saying growth in the Eastern Panhandle could "decrease the quality of life" if it is not planned properly, the Charles Town City Council passed a resolution Monday night encouraging local goverments to work together on the issue.

Under the resolution, the city would work cooperatively with the Jefferson County Commissioners on growth issues, said city council member Matt Ward.

The city will also encourage other towns in the county to adopt similar resolutions, said Ward.

The issue may cross county lines also, said Ward.

Ward said Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, told him there are a group of business leaders in Berkeley County who are concerned that urban sprawl could hurt their ability to do business.

Ward said Unger told him the group of bankers, developers and other business people are willing to commit money for a development plan for the area.

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"John Unger wants us to work regionally," Ward said at the council meeting.

The resolution passed with little discussion.

Charles Town started dealing with future growth in January when it zoned 150 acres along W.Va. 9 east neighborhood residential.

The new zone allows light commercial development in residential areas, which is designed to create communities.

The idea is to create self-sustaining communities were people can walk to businesses, reducing the need for cars and cutting down on congestion, said Mayor Randy Hilton.

Other areas are feeling growth as well.

Shepherdstown was the second-fastest growing town in the state between 1990 and 1998, going from a population of 1,287 to 1,697, according to the U.S. Census.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission is also looking at changing its zoning regulations.

Among the changes is allowing privately-owned federal training facilities like the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown to be built in the county's rural zones.

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