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Jefferson County briefs

November 11, 2006

Land owners paid to preserve property

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Eighty-one more acres of Jefferson County farmland were preserved Thursday when the Jefferson County Commission approved a conservation easement for a tract of land off Van Clevesville Road.

The owners of the land, Forrest and Mildred Hammond, will be paid $318,000 in exchange for agreeing not to develop the land along Southwood Drive in the Kearneysville, W.Va., area, said Kellie Boles, board administrator for the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board.

Sixteen acres of wetlands on the property already are protected, Boles said.

So far, more than 1,000 acres of farmland has been preserved in the county.

In many cases, property owners are paid money in exchange for agreeing not to allow development on the lands.

County mulls plan for possible mass exodus

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commission members and other county officials on Thursday discussed how to prepare the area for a possible mass exodus of people from nearby metropolitan areas in the event of an emergency.

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In the past, officials have expressed concerns about major east-west routes such as U.S. 340 and Interstate 70 becoming clogged with traffic in the event of an emergency such as a terrorist attack. Commissioner Rusty Morgan said the emphasis needs to be on plans to keep people moving through the area.

Officials have said they want to prevent situations where a large number of people come into Jefferson County and use resources on which current residents depend.

Commission President Greg Corliss said the county needs to formulate a list of resources that might be needed to handle such an event, such as extra deputies.

Planning commission member is concerned

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A member of the Jefferson County Planning Commission told Jefferson County Commission members on Thursday that she is concerned with how planning commission meetings are being run.

Lynne Deming said it appears the president of the planning commission leads or directs the comments of residents during the public comment phase of planning commission meetings.

The planning commission hears proposals for new housing projects, and in a county where residential growth is a hot topic, planning commission meetings sometimes go late into the night and attract public attention depending on the projects that come before the body.

Deming said planning commission members seem to receive little training for their job on the board.

County Commissioner Dale Manuel said he supports increased training for planning commission members and believes it should be repeated on a regular basis.

Commissioner Jim Surkamp downplayed Deming's remarks.

"I don't like innuendo, and this is wall-to-wall innuendo," Surkamp said.

- Dave McMillion

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