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Morgan County zoning study gets off to a busy start

November 12, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The first meeting to prepare a zoning study for Morgan County covered a lot of ground Tuesday night.

The zoning advisory committee is working with the Planning Commission land-use subcommittee members and the meeting was led by Jack Soronen, planning commission president who chairs the subcommittee.

Soronen said the group will focus on how to proceed with the preparation of the zoning study, which was requested by the Morgan County Commission.

By West Virginia Code, the zoning study document will be produced by the planning commission, county planner Alma Gorse said.

"This is an effort to address concerns to solve problems on the horizon," Soronen said.

Minimal impact to the county is a principal guideline, he said.

Soronen said he was pleased the county commission wants the Morgan County voters to decide on zoning rather than just passing an ordinance.

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The commission wants to have zoning on the ballot in 2010, Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said.

Soronen said the commission instructed the committee to focus on four areas that could only be addressed by zoning, which are:

o Density of residential housing

o Location of commercial activities

o Protection of the springs' recharge areas

o Billboards

Regarding commercial activities, he said he wanted to be clear that everyone understood that "nobody wants to regulate small-based businesses."

Soronen said a framework for each issue will be followed by determining what the existing conditions are and possible futures; what the problem is and how zoning will solve it.

"Think how it will impact the county," he said.

Nov. 16 is the deadline for a survey of where the existing conditions are in the county, and group members will give the information to Gorse.

Advisory committee member Bob Marggraf and Wayne Omps of the planning commission will focus on density.

Committee member Barbara Tutor and Soronen will concentrate on commercial activities.

Committee member Rebecca MacLeod will report on recharge areas and advisory committee member Reuben Darby will survey the billboards on W.Va. 9 and U.S. 522. He will work with Soronen.

The survey will be discussed Nov. 24.

At the Dec. 8 planning commission meeting, Soronen said he hopes a draft zoning study will be ready for review. At that time, the planning commission will determine a date to hold a public hearing, Soronen said Thursday.

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