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Jefferson commissioners get advice on land-use lawsuit

November 07, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commission members talked with their attorney Thursday about a lawsuit that has been filed asking the courts to reject a new set of land-use laws for the county.

The new regulations that keep up to 80 percent of the county's agriculture and countryside land undeveloped came after some experts told the commission that the county's previous land-use laws - or zoning - did not manage growth well in the county.

Five companies with property interests in the county filed suit against the commissioners Oct. 31 in Jefferson County Circuit Court, saying correct procedures were not followed in passing the laws.

On Thursday, Commissioner Rusty Morgan asked Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Grove if he could comment publicly on the suit.

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"Because I have a strong desire to scream," Morgan said.

In a related matter, Grove told the commission about a card that is being used to collect signatures for a petition drive to put the new land-use laws to a referendum.

Grove held up a sample of one of the cards and it appeared to be a little larger than a postcard.

Grove said the Jefferson County Clerk's office has allowed use of the card, which is signed and mailed for counting in the signature collection process.

Blue Ridge Mountain resident Ronda Lehman is leading the referendum attempt and said previously she needs about 2,900 signatures by Jan. 2 to put laws to a vote.

While there has been support for the new laws, opponents feel they are excessive.

Lehman said Thursday she has about 1,500 signatures, 250 of which she received Thursday.

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