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Plans call for 1,427-home development in Charles Town

February 29, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A third major housing development that could include up to 1,427 homes and apartments has been proposed for Jefferson County, according to plans filed with the city.

The Norborne Glebe development, a planned community similar to the proposed Hunt Field development south of Charles Town, would include a mix of residential and commercial development on 167 acres on the eastern edge of town along W.Va. 9., according to the plans.

Although Norborne Glebe is still in the planning stages, it could range from high-density development such as townhouses and apartments to single-family homes, according to plans.

To give it a sense of community, Norborne Glebe would have day-care facilities, housing for the elderly and churches, according to the plans.

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The size of the development surprised at least one county resident who has been vocal in her concerns that the county is growing so fast it doesn't yet understand the possible consequences.

Vicki Faulkner said she fears county residents will be hit with hefty tax increases to pay for the services needed for new residents moving into the proposed Hunt Field development, which will include up to 3,300 homes.

Charles Town residents could be hit twice with tax increases if Norborne Glebe is built she said. City residents pay both county taxes and municipal taxes.

"They are going to be hit with a double whammy in all this stuff," Faulkner said Tuesday. "What is going to happen to the quality of life in Charles Town?"

Charles Town also needs to be concerned about the traffic it would get from Norborne Glebe, Faulkner said.

Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward has already expressed concern about how traffic from Hunt Field would impact Charles Town.

Tom Nalls, a Virginia resident who is proposing Norborne Glebe, could not be reached for comment.

Norborne Glebe is the third large development that has been proposed in the county since Feb. 8, when plans for Hunt Field were disclosed.

Shepherdstown developer Ken Lowe said Monday he has filed plans with the Jefferson County Planning Commission to build 236 homes west of Shepherdstown near his Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.

He said he filed the plans to beat a proposed growth moratorium that would give the county time to write stricter subdivision regulations. The County Commission voted down the moratorium.

The city manager and a zoning advisor dismissed the possibility similar reasons were behind the timing of the Norborne Glebe development.

"What is going on in the county is another thing," said Annette van Hilst, a planning and zoning advisor for the city.

City Manager Jane Arnett said Norborne Glebe has been in the planning stages since 1998, two years before the current debate over Hunt Field and a possible building moratorium for the county.

Van Hilst said she doesn't think the subdivision will necessarily have 1,427 units. The number is the maximum that could be built, she said.

In 1998, Nalls asked the city to annex his land so he could enjoy such services as city police protection and public roads, according to Arnett and van Hilst.

But the city wanted the development to be a self-sustaining community that could include residential development as well as office space, convenience stores, barber shops and laundromats, said Arnett.

Mayor Randy Hilton said the city wants communities in which the residents walk to businesses, reducing the need for cars.

Nalls and city officials worked together on what they would like to see on Nalls' 167 acres, and the city decided to use a new zoning classification for the undeveloped property of neighborhood residential, Arnett said.

Besides, the city needs the planned community to build its tax base, Arnett said.

City police officers can earn at least $6,000 more by taking a job with the police department in nearby Berryville, Va., and the city needs the increased tax revenue that Norborne Glebe would generate to make police officer salaries more competitive, Arnett said.

Nalls has filed a "schematic plan" for Norborne Glebe, which gives a general overview of how he plans to build the community. Specific numbers and types of homes and types of businesses to be built in the development will be detailed in site plans that will be filed with the city, van Hilst said.

A public meeting on the development is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 13 at city hall.

The development would be near the intersection of W.Va. 9 and the Charles Town Bypass. The Crosswinds subdivision is adjacent to the property.

One of the advantages of building on the 167 acres is that it is visible from the bypass, according to the plans.

"We wanted something unique enough to draw people into the city," Arnett said.

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