CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A land-use referendum bill that was criticized by some local government officials as being a threat to the progress of new regulations in Jefferson County, but seen by supporters as a way to give "moderation" to such laws passed through the Legislature over the weekend, state Sen. John Yoder said.
Under the bill, 10 percent of a county's registered voters can sign a petition requiring county officials to put any new land-use regulations on a ballot for approval, said Yoder, R-Jefferson/Berkeley.
Jefferson County has about 33,000 registered voters, meaning that about 3,300 people would have to sign a petition to put land-use regulations - commonly referred to as zoning - on a ballot, Yoder said.
The Jefferson County Commission has been told that the county's current zoning laws have not been effective in managing urban and suburban growth or protecting agricultural areas. The commission is considering new regulations, although those have been criticized by some as being complicated and contradictory.