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Plans for large development draw concerns

August 27, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Concentrating on potential problems such as impact on local services, residents of the Breckenridge development and county planning officials raised concerns Tuesday night regarding a new phase of the Breckenridge development that is expected to contain 694 homes.

Residents said the proposed Breckenridge East development will not be compatible with other parts of the development, which have a rural character, and they worry about speeding and other traffic problems that could arise as a result of adding 694 homes to the community.

"I want my kids to be safe," said Dave Bussard, a Breckenridge resident, who said the reason he moved there was so his six children could enjoy living in a rural area.

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The comments came during a meeting of the Jefferson County Planning Commission, in which members heard a proposal by the developers to pass a community impact statement for the subdivision.

Planning commission members raised a number of issues, and residents who wanted to speak on the project began making comments about 9:45 p.m.

The planning commission had not taken any action on the community impact statement when people began to speak.

Planning Commission members, including Mark Schiavone, expressed concern about problems such as not enough volunteer firefighters to serve new subdivisions.

The lack of volunteer firefighters was mentioned in a letter from a local fire department, which was included in a packet of information regarding the proposed Breckenridge East development.

Another letter from a local police department expressed concerns about budget constraints in its office.

Schiavone said the concerns about lack of volunteer firefighters for the county "scares the daylights out of me."

Jerry Connelly, the developer of Breckenridge East, said the new homeowners will generate additional tax revenue to help pay for the community's needs.

Schiavone responded that he has never heard of a situation where residential growth pays for itself.

Breckenridge is a long-established development that started on Country Club Road, which turns off U.S. 340 north of Charles Town.

The primary access for Breckenridge East will be on Country Club Road, according to plans.

The Breckenridge East development is expected to generate at least 188 elementary school students, 84 middle school students and 77 high school students, according to plans filed in the Jefferson County Planning Commission office.

In addition to providing a 15-acre school site to the local school system, Breckenridge East developers have agreed to make a $6,000 donation to the school system for every house built in the development, Jefferson County Board of Education President Lori Stilley told planning commission members.

Stilley said school officials asked Breckeridge East for the donation after school officials determined that the land for the school would not be enough to offset the impact of the subdivision on the school system.

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