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Jefferson County farmers concerned about proposed land-use rules

May 16, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Concerns were raised Thursday from members of Jefferson County's agricultural community about how proposed new land-use regulations would preserve green space on farms.

The Jefferson County Commission is considering using deed restrictions to preserve open space on farms, but that approach would prohibit a farmer from being able to receive money in exchange for protecting the land through farmland protection efforts, local farmer Lyle "Cam" Tabb said.

Tabb and several agriculture representatives said referring to green space as "residue" would allow farmers to still receive money in exchange for preserving land.

Local farmer Bill Grantham said people in the agricultural community did not know about recent changes in the proposed new zoning laws about how open space on farms would be managed.

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"We feel like we've been violated here," Grantham told the commission Thursday.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan emphasized that the county is not trying to force anything on farmers and that the proposed regulations are only in draft form.

The commission discussed sending the new zoning regulations to the Jefferson County Planning Commission for consideration, but Commissioner Dale Manuel, who has had concerns about the new zoning plan, asked his colleagues to postpone the action.

Manuel wanted the commission to address concerns raised by Tabb and others, as well as look at other issues.

The commission disagreed, sending the regulations to the planning commission by a 4-1 vote.

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