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More debate set for Town Run project

December 16, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Jefferson County planning officials will continue their consideration next month of the proposed Town Run Commons town house project near Shepherdstown, W.Va., officials said Wednesday.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission began considering the town house project during a meeting Tuesday which ran until midnight, said planning commission member John D. Sims.

Because of the large amount of testimony, new information regarding the project and other issues, planning commission members decided to continue their consideration of the town house project until Jan. 11, Sims said.

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Jefferson County Planning Commission members were considering a list of unresolved items relating to the Town Run Commons, which is being proposed near Morgan's Grove Park by developer Gene Henry.

The unresolved items dealt with issues such as buffers for the development and protection for Town Run, a nearby stream that flows through Shepherdstown.

Sims said planning commission members also want to take their time studying the project because it is a "sensitive case."

Some officials have concern about the project possibly posing a threat to Town Run, and the project has been in the courts.

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

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

A circuit judge sent the case back to the planning commission, directing them to make findings of fact supporting their decision and reach conclusions of law that applies to those facts.

Unresolved issues discussed Tuesday night included a proposal that Henry provide bond insurance or become contractually obligated to ensure that Town Run is cleaned up if damaged.

Linda Gutsell, Henry's attorney, told planning commissioners Tuesday night she did not believe the planning commission could get involved in implementing such a requirement.

Those types of issues would fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Natural Resources, Gutsell said.

Henry does plan to plant deciduous plants to act as a buffer between his property and neighbors, Gutsell said.

Henry has also agreed to limit the height of the town houses to 20 feet, which was another unresolved item, Gutsell said.

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