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Special election could be held on zoning law

January 26, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Voters in Berkeley County are expected to be asked to consider adopting a zoning ordinance for the county's future land use this fall in a special election, County Commissioners Steven C. Teufel and Ronald K. Collins said Thursday.

Collins, Teufel and newly seated Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield were told Thursday by Berkeley County Planner Matthew Mullenax that a committee formed to draft the ordinance planned to meet two more times before moving into a "public education and outreach" phase of the initiative.

"Based on this, the draft zoning ordinance will tentatively be available for public review and comment sometime in ... March or April," Mullenax said.

The special election is expected to cost between $80,000 and $85,000, Mullenax said. The cost will be absorbed by the county's planning department, which operates on fees paid by developers.

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Following the public education and outreach phase, Mullenax said the committee will solicit comments, then refine the document before submitting it to the Planning Commission. Assuming it is approved, the county commission will hold a public hearing and hold public hearings before voting on it, Mullenax said. After that hurdle, county election officials still need 60 days to prepare for a vote on the proposal, and a study and report on zoning also must be done, he said.

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