Public suggestions growing into plans for U.S. 340 corridor

December 06, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — The fourth of five public meetings was held Tuesday night to help the Jefferson County Planning Commission figure out how the seven-mile U.S. 340 corridor between Charles Town, W.Va., and Harpers Ferry should look in 2036.

The commission’s staff, headed by Planning Director Jennifer M. Brockman, is asking county residents for their views on how the stretch of road should serve the county 25 years hence. This is being done through a series of public meetings, the first on March 11 and the last set for Jan. 19, plus an interactive website on which citizens can provide feedback.

Hundreds of comments have come in so far from the meetings and website. More will be accepted until the January meeting.

Progress toward having something tangible for the Jefferson County Commission in February was shown Tuesday in the form of three growth scenarios that have been cobbled together by the planners based on citizen suggestions.

Some wanted to protect green space, some wanted more housing developments, others suggested more commercial and industrial development to create jobs. All supported traffic safety and ease of vehicle passage through the corridor.

The three scenarios were: Keep growth close to Charles Town, planned mixed use throughout the corridor and the full buildout.

Forty-three percent of the respondents favored the first scenario, 36 percent the second and 20 percent the third.

Each alternative represents a broad range of general patterns for different locations along the corridor, Brockman said.

The first of the corridor’s three geographic areas begins at W.Va. 9 in Charles Town and runs north to Country Club Road. The second stretch goes from there to W.Va. 230 and the third from there to Harpers Ferry.

The major themes being considered in the final plan are transportation, parks, trails and greenways, community services, economic opportunities, historic resource and land-use planning, Brockman said.

Ed Burns, a planning commission member, said developing the right plan for the corridor is important in presenting a favorable impression to tourists entering West Virginia and Jefferson County. “We just don’t want to see commercial strip malls and housing developments,” he said.

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