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Track expansion given green light by planners

March 26, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - An expansion of Charles Town Races & Slots that was halted because of a stop-work order issued by county officials was approved by the Jefferson County Planning Commission Tuesday night.

Planning commission members approved the expansion with little comment.

The expansion will be the second phase of a new gaming area that will have about 1,800 slot machines, track President Jim Buchanan said Tuesday.

The first phase included the Slot City gaming area and a food court, Buchanan said.

The Jefferson County Planning, Zoning and Engineering Department issued a stop-work order for the expansion in early February because planning officials believed the thoroughbred track did not have a building permit for the second phase of the expansion.

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Track officials said they believed they had a permit.

The Jefferson County Commissioners lifted the work order when attorney Peter Chakmakian, who represented the track, offered a proposed settlement to resolve the matter.

Chakmakian asked that the stop-work order be lifted in exchange for track owners putting down a $250,000 cash bond to make sure they obtain the building permit for the expansion.

When the expansion plans were brought before the planning commission Tuesday night, Chief Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller said the proposal conformed with county regulations.

The track is involved in a massive $54 million expansion that includes new slot machine areas, a new lounge, a parking garage and other facilities.

There also are plans to build a 257-room motel on the property.

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