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City of Charles Town Planning Commission denies rezoning request for Hunter Hill

October 23, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Earlier this year, the City of Charles Town Planning Commission denied a request to rezone Hunter Hill, a historic home on the city’s east side because the owner had no specific plans for the property.

Monday night, the planning commission reprised its earlier vote on similar grounds — that owner William Trussell is still not offering specific plans on how the four-acre property between East Liberty and East Washington streets might be developed.

Mark Reinhart, planning commission chairman, said before Monday’s public hearing on the rezoning request that the property is for sale.

The asking price is $1.5 million.

Mark A. Dyck, of William H. Gordon Associates Inc., the Charles Town consulting firm handling the request to rezone the property from old town residential to old town mixed use commercial, said the new plan would break the property into three development zones.

One would move the Civil War-era mansion 110 feet south near the property line on the East Liberty side; one zone would be for a new hotel and the third calls for a commercial strip along the East Washington Street across from the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

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The mansion gets its historic significance because it was once the home of Andrew Hunter, the chief prosecutor in the trial of abolitionist John Brown in 1859. The house is not on the National Register of Historic Places.

While Dyck’s proposals are only suggestions, he said that old town mixed use commercial zoning allows for a wide range of possibilities that would preserve the historic characteristic of the house as well as provide an opportunity for economic development.

The Charles Town City Council agreed with the planning commission’s recommendation earlier this year when it denied the rezoning request for the first time.

City Manager Joe Cosentini said the council will act on Monday’s planning commission’s recommendation in November or December, depending on how soon it can be placed on the agenda.
 

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