Subdivision plan raises concerns

January 09, 2002

Subdivision plan raises concerns

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Another controversial development in Jefferson County raised concerns among county residents Tuesday night during a Jefferson County Planning Commission meeting.

There has been concern about how the 392-unit Harvest Hills subdivision would affect traffic on Flowing Springs Road and how local schools would be affected by the increase in the number of students.

After a lengthy discussion about the development during the planning commission meeting, commission members decided to postpone voting on a community impact statement for the development because of a lawsuit that has been filed by local citizens over the development.

Commission members want to ask their attorney, Mike Cassell, whether they should proceed with their vote since the lawsuit has been filed.


A community impact statement describes how a development will impact the property it is being built on, as well as surrounding developments.

There is a busy commuter train stop along two-lane Flowing Springs Road near the proposed site for Harvest Hills, and some nearby residents are worried the development will worsen traffic congestion in the area.

"The impact is too big. The traffic is too much," said county resident Paul Burke, who studies many developments and growth-related issues in Jefferson County.

A traffic expert who represented Arcatia Development Co., the developer of the project, told the commission more than 2,000 cars a day travel on Flowing Springs Road. With the development of Harvest Hills combined with other development that is expected to occur in the area, that number is expected to increase to about 6,000 cars a day, the expert said.

Typically, widening a two-lane road is not needed until the traffic count reaches about 8,000 cars a day, he said.

The comments about Harvest Hills came a day after a group of local residents raised concerns about how the Huntfield and Norborne Glebe developments would impact Jefferson County.

Discussion of those two developments came during a meeting of the Charles Town City Council, in which council members agreed to annex the property where the developments would be built into the city.

The developers of both projects entered into an agreement with the city where they would pay the city money to offset each house that is being built.

Although Arcatia Development Co. agreed to pay a "proffer" amount of $500 per house for its Norborne Glebe development, an official with the company told the planning commission he would not be willing to make proffers for Harvest Hills.

Donald Miller, director of land development for Arcatia, said he will not offer proffers for Harvest Hills because the Jefferson County Commission is already headed toward implementing an impact fee system and he intends on participating in that for Harvest Hills.

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