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Charles Town votes to drop controversial boundary

June 02, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The City of Charles Town has voted to do away with its controversial urban growth boundary, but a county resident claims the city has not let up on its interest in annexing properties that were identified in the boundary.

Nancy Lutz, who has been a vocal opponent of Charles Town's plans in recent meetings, was telling commission members about a workshop meeting that the Charles Town Planning Commission had Wednesday night.

During the workshop meeting, commission members agreed to remove the urban growth boundary term from a proposed comprehensive plan they are working on, Lutz said.

Lutz said she thinks the city still is pushing for the ability to take in properties that were under consideration for possible annexation when the urban growth boundary was being considered.

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Lutz pleaded with the commission to help her and other county residents to not have the city's growth plans forced on them.

"The time to speak is now," Linda Case, another county resident, told the commission.

Case and Lutz made the comments during the commission's public comment period. There is no exchange between the commission and the public during the comment period.

Charles Town City Council member Donald Clendening, who also is on the city planning commission, confirmed Thursday that the planning commission removed the term urban growth boundary from the comprehensive plan during the Wednesday meeting.

As for Lutz's claim that the city still is interested in taking in properties that were identified within the growth boundary, Clendening emphasized that the city cannot annex any property into the city unless the owner of the property wants to be annexed.

"I have no idea what her concern is," Clendening said.

The growth boundary was a line around the city that the council used to consider possible annexations.

Much of the initial criticism of the growth boundary centered around the proposal to extend a residential growth area to Earle Road, where there are farms and Washington family homes.

The planning commission later proposed removing the residential growth area from around the Earle Road area, as well as a proposal to construct a western highway bypass in the Earle Road area.

The county commission and Charles Town City Council are scheduled to meet Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall to talk about planning issues, preservation of the county's rural character and other issues in the wake of the controversy over the urban growth boundary.

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