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Shopping center opponents pack Planning Commission meeting

June 04, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Planning Commission meeting, usually attended only by county staff and an occasional civic association member, was packed Monday night with east county residents opposed to plans for a shopping center at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.

More than 20 residents showed up for the start of the meeting at 7 p.m. and most waited the two hours it took the planning commission to get to the matter on its agenda.

Even after finding out that public comment is not taken at the planning commission's monthly meetings, most people stayed.

"It's the traffic, more than anything. That's why we're here," said Thomas Stoner, who lives on Summers Lane.

Several people said the shopping center would make driving on rural roads near the interchange a nightmare.

"Any Friday night, you can drive down there and sit. It's terrible," said Bette Shifler, who lives on Beaver Creek Road.

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Jack Grier, of the Beaver Creek Preservation Organization, said the project could harm the quality and quantity of water in wells in the area.

The Washington County Health Department has recommended that nearby wells be connected to the public system if the center is built.

The planning commission was scheduled for a preliminary consultation on the proposed shopping center and did not vote Monday.

The commission members talked with the developer, Faison Enterprises, about the project until after 10 p.m.

The planning commission will meet again June 9 to finish their discussion.

The commission would have to approve a site plan in order for the center to be built.

Faison has not submitted a site plan for the project.

In addition, part of the development plans for the center include the abandonment of part of Beaver Creek Road.

The Washington County Commissioners would have to hold a public hearing and vote to approve that abandonment.

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