Planners suggest some changes to Charles Town boundary plan

May 03, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Extending a residential growth area west to Earle Road and a proposed western highway bypass in the Earle Road area - two oft-criticized parts of a proposed Charles Town growth boundary - should be removed from the plan, Charles Town Planning Commission members said during a work session Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, two Jefferson County Commission members have discussed forming a countywide organization to deal with planning issues in the wake of the controversy over the growth plan.

Charles Town's proposal to increase its growth boundary by 6,382 acres to a total of 14,822 acres has met stiff opposition from many county residents who worry about how it will affect their properties, the county's agriculture industry and public services, among other concerns.

Much of the controversy centered around a plan to extend a residential growth area west to the Earle Road area where there are farms and Washington family homes.


City Planning Commission member and Charles Town City Council member Donald Clendening said Tuesday night the city should not extend the growth boundary to Earle Road and suggested the boundary instead follow its current line at Locust Hill, a subdivision along W.Va. 51.

The planning commission also proposed doing away with the bypass in the Earle Road area.

"The road needs to go. We don't have any control over the road anyway," Planning Commission member Scott Coyle said.

The commission also proposed shrinking the northern tip of a proposed industrial zone southwest of the city.

Planning Commission member Al Hooper said he does not agree with extending the growth boundary around the proposed Thorn Hill subdivision and other areas southeast of the city, but Coyle and Clendening supported keeping the tract in the boundary.

The planning commission could not vote on the changes because the meeting was a work session.

The proposed changes will be outlined on a map and presented during a public hearing on the proposed growth boundary Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Opposition to the new growth boundary came to a head Monday night when dozens of local residents railed against the plan and County Commission member Rusty Morgan said Tuesday he would like to try a whole new approach to the issue.

Morgan said a new state law allows the formation of a countywide planning organization that would include cities.

Morgan said he would like to pursue the possibility and said the planning organization could look at a comprehensive plan for the entire county.

Charles Town was proposing its growth boundary as part of a comprehensive plan for the city.

"I think it's a positive way to look at our challenges. If we can get there politically or not, I don't know," Morgan said.

Morgan said he and Commission President Greg Corliss have talked about the idea and the issue is scheduled to be discussed during the commission's regular meeting Thursday morning.

Clendening said earlier Tuesday he would be willing to consider Morgan's idea, although Clendening said the county needs to realize that it is vital for the city to find some way to increase commercial growth.

The Herald-Mail Articles