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Expanded training facility is approved in Jefferson County

July 25, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Expanded antiterrorism training at Summit Point Raceway got the go-ahead Tuesday night when Jefferson County land planning officials approved a proposed U.S. Department of State facility at the track.

The facility, which will have indoor shooting ranges and several buildings, will use the track as part of its antiterrorism training, officials said this week.

Ground might be broken on the facility by the first part of August and parts of the facility could be operational by September or October, said Barbara Scott, wife of Bill Scott, president of the track.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission approved a site plan and improvement location permit for the facility during its meeting Tuesday.

The planning commission also approved a building lot for another facility that will be known as the Homeland Training Corp., which also proposes to have indoor shooting ranges and plans to use the track for its training.

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The planning commission received a letter from a local resident raising issues about noise, but a planning commission staff member said the county has no authority over the issue at the site.

A spokeswoman for the track said berms between six to eight feet high will be constructed at the U.S. Department of State facility to control noise.

Planning Commission member Jim Surkamp, who is also a Jefferson County Commissioner, said the project was a "very meritorious enterprise" and the planning commission unanimously approved the site plan and improvement location permit.

Government officials and business executives who are on a 2 1/2-day mission in West Virginia to explore new homeland security initiatives together visited the track on Monday to learn about its antiterrorism training.

This week's conference hosted by Discover the REAL West Virginia Foundation is designed to lure more private companies involved in homeland security to set up shop in West Virginia and the track will have about six to eight lots for other tenants, Barbara Scott said.

Each of the lots will be about 30 acres, Barbara Scott said.

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