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City to consider neighborhood zone in Charles Town

December 29, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Charles Town City Council will be asked to consider implementation of a new housing zone, which is referred to as a "traditional neighborhood development zone," at its Jan. 5 meeting, Charles Town Council member Matt Ward said Sunday.

The zone, if approved by council members, would apply to the 3,800-home Huntfield development along U.S. 340 a mile south of Charles Town and property referred to as Winchester Cold Storage.

It also could be applied to any areas that are annexed to the city in the future, Ward said.

Winchester Cold Storage contains a cold storage facility for fruit, Ward said.

Owners of the 275-acre property, located next to Huntfield, won approval from the council to be annexed into the town and said they may build homes on the remaining land.

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The traditional neighborhood development zone requires projects to adopt mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly designs that promote parks, recreational spaces and walking trails, Ward said.

If approved by council, the new zone could be applied to Huntfield even though the subdivision already is under construction, Ward said.

Under an agreement between Huntfield developers and the council, Huntfield was given permission to build its first 175 houses under an older zoning law, Ward said.

Although Huntfield developers initially said their planned community would have a mix of recreational, residential and commercial areas, having a zone in place that deals with such uses makes the planning process smoother, Ward said.

Other proposals that council members will be asked to consider next Monday include:

-- Having the city establish a parks and recreation department to manage a number of planned recreation areas for the city.

-- Directing the town to coordinate with volunteer fire companies and county officials regarding the possibility of establishing a paid county fire department.

-- Directing the town to form a partnership with the Jefferson County Commission for the financing and construction of a parking garage in the downtown area. Such a project should be studied to meet the area's commercial and tourism parking needs, Ward said.

The proposals were developed by a committee of council members and community leaders who came up with the idea of a proffer system for the city.

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