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More than 665 acres of annexation requests shot down by planners

November 26, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town planners Monday night recommended against annexing two properties totaling 665 acres into the city after a group of city residents expressed concern about tax increases and other potential problems.

If the two properties were annexed into the town, developers would be able to construct housing that would have densities 30 to 40 times greater than what is currently allowed, planning commission members said.

In separate action, members of the Charles Town Planning Commission recommended that the Charles Town City Council annex a segment of a third property and annex a fourth property along the Charles Town Bypass near the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co.

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The biggest proposed annexation was for 563 acres at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Kabletown Road near the Shenandoah River.

Mike Shepp, who represents potential developers of the land, said 595 building lots were being considered for the property. Under the proposal, 10 acres along the Shenandoah River would be given to the city for a park along with a mansion that sits on the tract, Shepp said.

Although the final decision rests with the City Council, which could consider the annexations as early as Dec. 2, the planning commission voted to recommend to the council that the 563-acre annexation not be approved.

Planning Commission chairman Matt Ward said one of his concerns was that the impact of traffic from the proposed development is unknown.

City residents crowded into the small council chambers, many speaking against the annexation requests.

City resident Dave Barnes said he was worried that the annexations, if approved, could lead to tax increases. Barnes questioned whether the city police department would have to be expanded to cover the new areas and whether the city would still be able to provide services like yard waste pickup.

Barnes also reminded the council that improvements had to be made to the city's sewer plant two years ago because it was not big enough.

"These are the things we have to look at," said Barnes, who lives on South Mildred Street.

The second biggest annexation request, which the planning commission voted not to recommend, involved 102 acres off U.S. 340 south of Charles Town that is accessed by Cloverdale Road.

Part of the land, which would be developed by Terry Marcus, would have been for commercial development and about 53 acres would have been used for residential development.

A third annexation request involved 38 acres at the intersection of U.S. 340 and Marlowe Road. The development, also proposed by Marcus and others, would involve commercial development and up to 210 townhouses.

The planning commission recommended that the segment of the property that lies on the west side of the intersection be annexed but voted that the property on the east side not be annexed because it is too far away from town.

The council finally approved 16 acres beside the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co.

The council voted to recommend the annexation, which is being considered for 140 residential housing units by the firm County Green LLC, because areas around the property are already in the city.

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