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Sizable annexation requests withdrawn

December 03, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOwn, W.Va. - Three proposed annexations that would have brought 703 acres and about 1,300 more homes into Charles Town were withdrawn Monday night before they made it to the City Council for review.

The annexations were withdrawn after city residents crowded into City Council chambers last Monday, with many residents speaking against the proposed annexations.

Citizens made their comments to the city planning commission, which recommended the City Council not approve two of the biggest annexations.

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It was standing room only again in the council chambers Monday night as City Council members took up consideration of the annexations.

But before residents could comment on the annexation proposals, city officials announced that three of four annexation proposals before the council had been withdrawn.

The three that were withdrawn were the Elliot, Ott, Thorn Hill annexation, the Stolipher annexation and the Jefferson Foods annexation.

A smaller 16-acre annexation was approved.

Local developers Herb Jonkers and Gene Capriotti were working on The Elliot, Ott, Thorn Hill annexation, which would have included 595 housing lots. The lots would have been developed on 563 acres at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Kabletown Road.

The Stolipher annexation, proposed by developer Terry Marcus and others, was proposed to be the site of about 540 homes and commercial development. The 102-acre site is located off U.S. 340 and is accessed by Cloverdale Road.

The Jefferson Foods annexation, which was proposed by Marcus and others, would have involved commercial development and the construction of up to 210 townhouses on 38 acres at the intersection of U.S. 340 and Marlowe Road.

None of the developers appeared before the council to say why they withdrew their annexation requests.

Some who came to the meeting said they had prepared to make detailed statements about the proposals, but decided to reserve their comments after learning about the withdrawals.

Others spoke about them anyway.

City resident Dave Barnes, who attended last week's meeting, again spoke against the annexations, saying no one has been able to explain "anything reasonable or positive for Charles Town's current residents that would come out of these annexations."

Barnes says he is concerned about tax increases that may result because of the added residential growth and possible cutbacks on city services.

Council member Matt Ward, who has been concerned about rapid growth in and around Charles Town, said the large turnout at Monday night's meeting shows people are concerned about the future of the city.

Ward said city residents are "calling on us to slow down and better manage growth." Ward said there is also a perception in the community that some members of the city's staff have "greased the skids" for growth.

Ward called on council members to set up a growth boundary for the city and set higher standards for development.

"Once we pave over this land, it's gone forever," said Ward, whose comments were followed by applause from the audience.

Steve Kubic told the council he tried to get information about the Jefferson Foods annexation request but was told by Town Hall officials that he would have to file a Freedom of Information request in order to get the information.

Kubic said he was "outraged."

The 16 acres the council agreed to bring into the city are behind the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co. along the Charles Town Bypass.

City officials have said it makes sense to bring the property into the city since it is surrounded by city boundaries.

A firm known as County Green LLC is proposing construction of about 170 townhouses on the land.

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