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Lowe plans 236 homes in Jefferson County

February 28, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Concerned by a proposed building moratorium in Jefferson County, a Shepherdstown developer has filed plans for a 236-unit housing development west of Shepherdstown.

Although the moratorium was turned down by the Jefferson County Commissioners two weeks ago, developer Ken Lowe said he feels he needs to reserve his right to build on 60 acres he owns between W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 480.

Lowe said he cringes at the thought of waking up one day and realizing he cannot build on the property.

"I couldn't see where I had much choice," Lowe said Monday. "I feel I couldn't idly stand by."

Lowe said there is a chance he may not build the subdivision at all. But he wanted to file the papers because it is possible he could start building within a year or two.

The Federal Hill subdivision would be near the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, which Lowe built with two other area investors. It would also be near a proposed bypass between W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 480, according to plans, which have been filed with the Jefferson County Planning Commission office.

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The development would include 46 single-family homes, 22 duplexes, 60 townhouses, 108 apartments and six commercial units.

Lowe said he is not sure what the commercial units would be.

The housing will be a mix of styles and prices, Lowe said.

Regarding the debate over a building moratorium, Lowe said he can understand some of the arguments in favor. But he said efforts to control growth in the county should be made through revisions to the county's comprehensive plan, not a building moratorium.

Jefferson County Commissioner Dean Hockensmith said he feared talk of a possible moratorium would cause a rush of building in the county.

"I've got a feeling there will be a couple more (subdivision plans) yet," Hockensmith said Monday.

A group of people led by Shepherdstown, W.Va.-area resident Paul Burke wanted the commissioners to implement a moratorium on new home construction in the county until the commissioners approve tighter subdivision regulations.

Burke and others said they are worried about farmland being lost to development and a moratorium is needed to protect the county from sprawl.

Burke said Monday another reason he requested the moratorium was because he felt the county's decision to review the comprehensive plan would trigger a rush of development.

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