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Growth boundary expansion sparks lively discussion

April 18, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A proposal to nearly double Charles Town's growth boundary sparked a sometimes heated discussion during a Charles Town City Council meeting Monday night.

The growth boundary is a designated area around the city of which city council members will use to consider possible annexations.

The city's growth boundary currently takes in 7,700 acres but under a Charles Town Planning Commission proposal, the boundary would be expanded by another 7,200 acres.

Mayor Peggy Smith said before the meeting Monday that city officials are considering expanding the growth boundary so the city can attract more commercial growth.

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The new growth boundary is being considered as part of a new comprehensive plan for the city. A public input session has been scheduled for Monday at City Hall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. to allow the public to give input on the plan.

The growth boundary was brought up for consideration Monday night at the city council meeting and council member Matt Ward expressed concerns about the plan.

Ward questioned the size of the growth boundary expansion and said the city has places along the Charles Town Bypass where it can attract commercial business.

Ward also said citizens have not had a chance to look at the new growth boundary and the city has not talked to the Jefferson County Commission about it.

Council member Randy Breeden said there is no guarantee that areas inside the new growth plan will be annexed.

"We haven't turned down an annexation yet," Ward said.

Breeden, his voice growing tense, suggested that Ward let people speak for themselves next Monday rather than "having you talk for them tonight."

Council members decided to table the proposed new growth boundary until their May 1 meeting.

The city's current growth boundary roughly follows an eastern direction along U.S. 340 to the Marlowe Road area then cuts south toward the Cattail Road area and Eastland area, Ward said. It then goes west taking in Huntfield, north toward Tuscawilla Hills and goes east toward the city along W.Va. 51.

The expanded growth boundary would take in areas including about 1,400 acres in the Spruce Hill area south of Charles Town off U.S. 340 and another section of land along W.Va. 9 east going toward the Shenandoah River, said Jeremy Camp, the city planner. The new boundary also would go farther west toward Earle Road, Ward said.

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