County to hold hearing on Shepherdstown town house project

November 10, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - County planning officials decided Tuesday night to resume consideration of a controversial Shepherdstown, W.Va., town house project near Morgan's Grove Park.

Jefferson County Planning Commission members unanimously decided to hold a hearing Dec. 14 to consider unresolved issues in the proposed Town Run Commons project being proposed by Gene Henry.

Planning commission members did not identify the unresolved issues and offered little discussion about the project. The vote to hold the hearing followed a closed door meeting.


At the Dec. 14 meeting, planning commission members can vote on a conditional use permit, which Henry needs to build the town houses. No time or place was announced for the hearing.

Henry proposed the town house project in 1995 and opponents complained that the development was not compatible with the area and posed a threat to Town Run, a nearby stream that flows through Shepherdstown.

Most recently, Henry proposed to sell to the county the land where the town houses would be built to allow for an expansion of Morgan's Grove Park.

That proposal was tied to another proposal to transfer ownership of the park from the Shepherdstown Men's Club to the county.

One of the provisions of the proposed transfer was that if it were approved, the county would purchase Henry's 11 acres from him for $1 million.

The Men's Club recently voted not to transfer ownership of Morgan's Grove Park to the county.

Because the park transfer proposal was voted down, Henry decided to pursue his proposed Town Run Commons town house project, said John Yoder, an attorney who has represented Henry on the issue.

Two years ago, the Jefferson County Planning Commission approved the project, Yoder said. The Shepherdstown Men's Club and other people appealed the decision to the Jefferson County Zoning Board of Appeals, Yoder said.

The zoning board of appeals approved the project on a 2-1 vote, Yoder said. Because state law requires that an affirmative vote consist of at least three votes, the case was moved to Jefferson County Circuit Court, Yoder said.

Circuit Judge Gray Silver III sent the case back to the planning commission.

The town house project originally was to have 76 units, but Henry reduced it to 50.

Morgan's Grove Park is a popular 21-acre facility southwest of Shepherdstown at the intersection of W.Va. 480 and Morgan Grove Road.

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