Charles Town, county to consider joint planning commission

June 06, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - There were fiery protests when the City of Charles Town proposed an urban growth boundary that would have stretched into historical areas west of the city.

The proposal was followed by at least three meetings where 75 or more people turned out, leading city officials to agree to abandon the growth boundary as well as another boundary it had been using.

The issue continued to evolve Monday night when city and county officials discussed having a joint planning commission to determine how the county should develop in coming years.

Jefferson County Commission President Greg Corliss proposed to the Charles Town City Council on Monday night that a Joint Charles Town-Jefferson County Planning Commission be formed to study issues such as economic development, promotion of tourism and the preservation of the uniqueness of the county and its five cities.


Corliss said the commission has been concerned about the city's land-use planning outside its corporate limits, and although he did not have all the details worked out on how the joint planning commission would operate, Corliss said he felt it would be a good way for the two governments to communicate on planning issues.

County commission members have expressed concern about Charles Town's plans, especially because much of the county's growth has already been planned out and there is only a finite amount of land left to plan uses for.

"We really are at a major crossroads," Corliss told city council members.

Mayor Peggy Smith suggested that the idea of a joint planning commission be discussed at the next council of government meeting. The council of government is a body of town and county officials who meet periodically to discuss issues important to the cities and county.

The council agreed to have the council of government consider the joint planning commission at its June 28 meeting.

Smith and council member Randy Breeden suggested that other cities be allowed to participate in the joint planning commission.

Council member Matt Ward praised the commission's idea, calling it a historic turn of events and saying it represents a "chance to look beyond ourselves."

The city's growth boundary was a line around the city which Charles Town officials wanted to have to consider possible annexations to the city.

The city had proposed increasing its growth boundary by 6,382 acres to a total of 14,822 acres.

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