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Commissioners doubt property zone will change

June 28, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. - Two members of the Jefferson County Commission said Wednesday after a tour of the Old Standard Quarry that they doubt there is support on the commission to change the land-use designation for the property to allow a $250 million office and hotel complex there.

Commission President Frances Morgan did not have encouraging words for the proposal either.

Commissioners Rusty Morgan and Jim Surkamp said they doubt the commission will change the zoning of the property from agricultural to commercial to allow the project.

Besides opposition from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park officials, Surkamp said Wednesday that opposition from the towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, and a decision by the Jefferson County Planning Commission that the project is not compatible with a county comprehensive growth plan is reason enough for him to oppose it.

"Everyone likes jobs," Surkamp said. "It's the location."

Surkamp predicted that he, Frances Morgan and Rusty Morgan will vote against the rezoning, while Commissioner Dale Manuel and Corliss will vote for it.

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Frances Morgan said after the tour that some use probably can be designated for the old quarry that is "acceptable to the community. But now is not the time."

Members of the county commission toured the quarry Wednesday, and the developers showed them how the office buildings would be tucked into heavily wooded areas.

Opponents have worried that the facilities could be seen from nearby Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, but Corliss said the buildings could be "essentially camouflaged."

"I'm even more convinced that development of that property as commercial is appropriate," Corliss said after the tour.

Corliss said the commissioners discussed possibly making a decision on the rezoning request for the quarry July 12, but that might be pushed back.

The commission is scheduled to talk about the issue in a work session today at 1:30 p.m.

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