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Charles Town planner suggest more hearings on the issue

April 28, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Charles Town Planning Commission member suggested during a work session Thursday afternoon that the planning commission start over on a proposed new growth boundary plan.

Meanwhile, the Charles Town City Council could vote on the proposed boundary expansion at a meeting Monday night. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Planning Commission member Doug Vaira said the public's ability to make comment so far has been limited and suggested that public workshops might be a way to devise the plan.

"Are we prepared for what we are getting ourselves into?" Vaira asked.

Vaira's comment got a cool response from commission member Donald Clendening.

"We've been working on this for six months. How long do you want to work on it?" Clendening said.

The comments revolve around a controversial growth boundary, which is being considered as part of a comprehensive plan for the city.

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The city has proposed expanding its growth boundary by 7,200 acres and some county residents strongly criticized the plan this week because of its plan to expand the city's boundary into the Earle Road area, among other concerns.

Criticism has also risen over the plan's call for a western highway bypass west of Charles Town that would parallel Earle Road or use parts of it.

City officials said during meetings Monday that they would probably re-examine parts of the plan. On Thursday, City Planner Jeremy Camp suggested during the work session that the western bypass be replaced with a route that swings away from the Earle Road area in a more easterly direction.

Planning commission members also talked about increasing a buffer for the Claymont mansion and making the proposed residential zone that reaches to Earle Road have the lowest level of housing concentration as possible.

Regarding Vaira's call for a new way of gathering public input, planning commission member Al Hooper emphasized that every comprehensive plan is a compromise among interests.

"You're never going to make everyone happy," Hooper said.

Although the planning commission has planned a public hearing on the plan for May 9 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, the boundary adjustment issue is on the council's agenda Monday night.

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