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Planners debate Thorn Hill subdivision concerns

August 14, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A 181-home subdivision being proposed along Kabletown Road is raising concern about added traffic congestion in the county.

Bill Lewandowski, a Shepherdstown, W.Va., resident who commutes out of the county, told the Jefferson County Planning Commission that U.S. 340 is already congested with traffic at rush hours in the county and questioned planning officials Tuesday night about how the Thorn Hill subdivision would affect the current traffic flows.

Lewandowski also said the subdivision is being planned based on the assumption that a new four-lane W.Va. 9 will be built.

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Lewandowski asked county planners what would happen if the new road is not built.

The widening of W.Va. 9 has been in the planning stages for years and has faced legal challenges in recent months.

Charles Town attorney Peter Chakmakian, who is representing the developers, said there is no doubt Thorn Hill will have an impact on local traffic.

But adequate road systems in the county is the jurisdiction of the state Department of Highways, not the planning commission, said Chakmakian.

"We have to live with that," said Chakmakian.

The planning commission may not have jurisdiction over roads but it can influence how many houses are built in the subdivision, said planning commission member Elizabeth Blake.

Chief Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller said it was too late to change the density of Thorn Hill because that issue was addressed when a conditional use permit was issued for the development.

The planning commission approved a community impact statement for Thorn Hill, which will be built along the east side of Kabletown Road about 1,200 feet south of the intersection with W.Va. 9.

The next step in the process is submission of a preliminary plat, which will show general features of the subdivision.

The planning commission also voted to allow for final plat approval for construction of a water tank in the Locust Hill subdivision. Locust Hill, located along W.Va. 51 west of Charles Town, began experiencing low water pressure, and the planning commission ruled that no more building could occur in the subdivision until the problem was corrected, Bockmiller said.

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