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Meeting held on Hunt Field

May 09, 2001

Meeting held on Hunt Field



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


Some people who spoke at a hearing Tuesday night about the proposed Hunt Field development say they are encouraged by how the developers have proceeded on the project, including their increased sensitivity to the area's history.

Others, however, continue to express concern about traffic congestion the 3,300-home development could generate, the need for additional schools and the presence of arsenic in soil on the property.

"Are you going to build schools? Are you going to staff schools?" one resident asked.

More than 100 people crowded into the Jefferson County Courthouse for a public hearing on the proposal.

Patty Corley questioned how the county's road system would handle traffic from Hunt Field. Among her concerns is how the two-lane U.S. 340 bridge in Harpers Ferry would be able to handle the influx of people driving in and out of the county if Hunt Field is built.

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Although the developers have said they will remove two feet of soil on 16 acres of the property where arsenic has been found, they have not said exactly where that section of the property is, said Richard Latterell, a Shepherdstown resident who has been concerned about the arsenic issue.

The arsenic came from a former orchard on the property, said Jim Duszynski, senior vice president of Greenvest, L.C., the Vienna, Va., firm that is proposing Hunt Field.

Latterell said Hunt Field developers have implied that the state Department of Environmental Protection likes the arsenic cleanup plan that Hunt Field has proposed.

Latterell said DEP officials have told him that approval for an arsenic cleanup plan is a very structured process and that no application for the cleanup has been submitted.

Duszynski told the planning commission that he has met with the DEP as part of an effort to ensure there is safe development on the property. He added that arsenic impacts less than 1 percent of the land.

Duszynski said he has addressed concerns about sprawl, demands on public services and stewarship of land "as best as possible."

"There is no doubt that Hunt Field has become a referendum on growth in Jefferson County," Duszynski said.

Hunt Field's developers started the presentation on their project by showing a slide show that highlighted the positive aspects of the development.

The developers stressed again their intention not to build homes on high points on the property that can be seen from surrounding areas.

The development will have six separate neighborhoods and will feature recreation areas that will feature both "tot lots" and attractive park settings that will appeal to adults, said Lee Quill, an architect who has been working on the project.

Hunt Field will also have a lake, attractive retail areas and wide streets that will feature grass medians, as well as other visually-pleasing features, Quill said.

"This is how wonderful plans are created. They have a vision," Quill said.

Kevin Walker, who has been working to develop historical programs at Claymont Court, a historical home near the development site, praised the Hunt Field developers. Although Walker said he initially had concerns about the project, he said Hunt Field developers have gone "above and beyond" to make sure local historic properties are protected.

At the hearing, Hunt Field developers were seeking approval for a community impact statement, which gives details about how the development will be built.

The planning commission rejected Greenvest, L.C.'s initial community impact statement last year, citing concerns about how public services will be able to keep up with the development if it is built.

Hunt Field developers later filed a petition challenging the decision, and a judge ordered the planning commission to accept a revised community impact statement.

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