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Study of busy U.S. 340 corridor continues

March 08, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Jefferson County planning officials first started thinking about the future of the seven-mile stretch of U.S. 340 from the Virginia line to the Charles Town city line in 2004 when it adopted its then new Comprehensive Plan.

The plan called for a study of the 340 Corridor in terms of land use, economic development and traffic flow and design.

On Thursday night, members of the county’s planning department staff and planning commission members met with the Jefferson County Commission at a workshop before an audience of about 30 people. The planners unveiled a voluminous report compiled from more than 760 opinions on how the corridor should look 20 years from now that was collected from residents at five public meetings and online.

Topics covered in the report included land use, economic development, traffic flow (especially the bottleneck between the bridges spanning the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers), protection of historic structures and resources and natural resources, coordination with other agencies, parks, tourism and the creation of a eastern “Gateway” into Jefferson County and West Virginia.

Once the plan is tweaked by the planning commission and adopted by the county commission following public hearings by both agencies, it will be incorporated into the county’s 2014 comprehensive plan. Implementation will depend mostly on available funds at the time, officials said Thursday night.

The proposed U.S. 340 Corridor not only follows U.S. 340 from the Virginia line to Charles Town, it also reaches a mile to the north and south. That much land will require thoughtful planning for growth, economic and commercial needs, natural resource protection and individual property rights, officials said.

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