Advertisement

Development review should be based on county's needs

February 29, 2000

It's almost superstitious when you think about it. Jefferson County Commissioner Dean Hockensmith said he feared that talk of a possible building moratorium would prompt a rush to get new developments under way. Paul Burke, the Shepherdstown, W.Va. resident who recently requested a moratorium, said he did so because he felt the county's decision to review its comprehensive plan would spur a lot of new developments.

Although we understand the impulses behind each, to hold off on either course over fear of what might happen is the wrong approach. Decisions ought to be made on the basis on of what's best for the county's future, rather than what immediate action a decision might provoke.

That said, it would be hard to argue that a review of the county's comprehensive plan would spur a lot of development immediately. That review, with the accompanying public hearings, generally is a lengthy process, with plenty of opportunity for input by affected property owners.

Advertisement

As for the moratorium proposal, it's unlikely that the proposed 60-day ban on large new subdivisions had an effect on anyone's plans, since it was shot down almost immediately by the county commissioners.

What developers and property owners (like Ken Lowe, who announced a 236-unit development on W.Va. 45) are realizing is that additional regulation is on the way, regulation which will increase their cost of doing business.

If you doubt additional restrictions are coming, consider this: Not too many years ago, Burke's call for a moratorium would have been denounced as an attack on free enterprise and a person's right to do as they chose with their property.

That was then. Now citizens have begun to realize that there are costs associated with development, particularly residential development, that aren't covered by the taxes homeowners pay. They've also begin to figure out that deciding who pays those costs isn't a matter of pitting one faction against another, but of deciding what's fair and equitable for all.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|