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Judge stays proceedings on Murphy's Landing

August 11, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A judge on Wednesday stopped further proceedings involving a controversial subdivision in Harpers Ferry until he further studies issues surrounding the development.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. ordered proceedings halted on the Murphy's Landing subdivision until he can decide if a community impact statement for the development was correctly carried out.

A land conservancy called the decision a "major advance" in its attempt to have a Jefferson County Planning Commission decision on the development overturned.

"We're quite pleased with this ruling," said Paul Rosa, executive director of the Harpers Ferry Conservancy.

Steptoe said in his ruling he will have an evidentiary hearing Sept. 23 to gather more facts about the case.

The conservancy, which wants Steptoe to overturn the planning commission's decision to accept the community impact statement, said the report may have contained "misrepresentations" about Murphy's Landing.

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Although the subdivision calls for the construction of 203 homes, the developers have requested a sewage "wasteload allocation" that could serve up to 760 homes.

J. Michael Cassell, who represents the planning commission in the case, declined to comment Wednesday night.

Murphy's Landing would be built in the School House Ridge area, where Confederate General Stonewall Jackson oversaw the capture of 12,500 troops in 1862.

The conservancy claims some of the homes will be built where the conflict's main area of maneuver was.

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