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Norborne Glebe largest project yet for new zoning rule

March 15, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A proposal to build up to 1,427 homes on the eastern edge of the city is the third - and largest - project considered under a mixed-use zone that requires commercial development along with residential, a city planner said.

Preliminary plans for Norborne Glebe, reviewed Monday by the Charles Town Planning Commission, call for townhouses, single-family homes, and commercial buildings on 167 acres along W.Va. 9.

Annette van Hilst, the city's planning and zoning advisor, said Charles Town's "neighborhood residential" zone, which covers the Norborne Glebe plan, went into effect in August 1998.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Geraldine Willingham said she believes Charles Town is the only municipality in the Eastern Panhandle with such a zone. Requiring commercial development along with residential helps increase the tax base.

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During a hearing on a schematic plan on Monday, the commission heard concerns from members of the Jefferson County Board of Education and Superintendent David Markoe.

With the county facing three proposed developments that could total up to 5,000 homes, the school district might get at least 2,000 more students if the projects are built to capacity.

Markoe said Norborne Glebe alone could add 400 students.

A report last year by a district facilities committee said that $52 million will be needed over the next 10 years for new construction, including $25 million for a new high school. That sum does not include any of the three new proposed developments.

"We are not opposed to growth," said School Board member Pete Dougherty. "This is more beneficial than scattered growth. But there is no capacity now to meet it."

"We should delay approving (Norborne Glebe) until we figure out how to pay for improvements," School Board member Peter Morgens said.

Van Hilst recommended that the board approve the project. She said it meets requirements of existing ordinances and has a "cohesive pattern" that is compatible with surrounding uses.

Monday's discussion of the schematic plan, which shows potential maximum uses of the property, did not require Planning Commission approval. The next step will be a site plan review, when the developer will show more specific plans, van Hilst said.

R. Michael Shepp, of Appalachian Surveys of West Virginia, representing the developer, said it could take more than nine years for the entire project to be built.

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