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Proposed 1,700-acre development in Ranson would use alternative energy, officials say

September 12, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- An estimated 1,700-acre residential and commercial development that would be "bigger than Huntfield" and use alternative energy forms like solar power and wind power is being proposed in the City of Ranson, officials said Thursday.

The first mention of the so-called Ranson Green development came during a Jefferson County Commission meeting when Commissioner Greg Corliss said people involved in the project briefed officials on it during a Region 9 planning and development council meeting Wednesday at Ranson City Hall.

No one else in the commission meeting said they were aware of the project.

In a telephone interview later, Ranson Mayor David Hamill confirmed the project and its planned uses of alternative energy.

"Incredible concept," Hamill said of the plan.

Hamill referred specific questions about the project to one of the developers, Fred Spain of Fort Washington, Md.

Spain said in a telephone interview he has wanted to push alternative energy forms since seeing Al Gore's global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," and he teamed with Douglas Carter of Davis Carter Scott Architecture on the idea for Ranson Green.

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Carter was involved in a proposal for a National Park Service museum near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., that would have used alternative forms of energy, although the project was put on hold because of cost concerns.

Spain said groups involved in Ranson Green include West End Group of Investors LLC, based in Charles Town, and Grand Vista LLC, of which he is a member.

The land for Ranson Green is part of an area in which the City of Ranson completed a string of major land annexations about five years ago.

About 1,200 acres is owned for the project and a "few hundred (more)" acres are under contract, Spain said.

Some of the property is behind the former Shawley's True Value Hardware along W.Va. 9 East, Spain said.

Spain said his group has received some approvals for the project and construction could start in late winter.

Because the project is still in the beginning phase, Spain could not give specific information on how many homes would be in Ranson Green. He described the development as "bigger than Huntfield."

Although the estimates for the number of homes to be built in Huntfield south of downtown Charles Town has varied, developers there have said they could build as many as 3,800 homes.

Spain said he wants to generate wind power for the development and homes would have solar panels.

Spain said his group will build homes, although other developers can construct homes in the development as long as they meet the group's "green" standards.

Spain said he also wants to bring a natural gas line into Ranson for anyone who would like to convert their cars to use natural gas.

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