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Jefferson County steering committee looks at next 20 years

Group to look at various issues during upcoming seminars

January 28, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — It will take thought, imagination and a little civic responsibility, but Jefferson County residents are being asked to think about how they want their county to look in 2035, more than 20 years into the future.

Jennifer Brockman, the county’s director of planning and zoning, said Monday work has begun on the creation of a new 10-year comprehensive plan, a task Brockman hopes will include a significant number of residents in the process.

It will replace a 10-year plan that was adopted in 2004 and expires next year. The state mandates that counties adopt a new master plan every decade, Brockman said.

A 15-member Envision Jefferson 2035 Steering Committee was appointed by the Jefferson County Commission in October.

Beginning Wednesday at noon, the steering committee will hold the first of nine “brown bag lunch and learn seminars,” Brockman said.

The sessions, held in the Jefferson County meeting room below the Charles Town Public Library, will cover issues from economic development to utilities, transportation and housing to natural resources and conservation, public safety, senior and social services and federal installations.

“The steering committee needs to knows what’s going on in the county today,” said Seth Rivard, the county’s planner.

Residents will get their chance to have a voice in the process during three public workshops.

The first workshop will be Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Blue Ridge Elementary School on W.Va. 115 in Mannings, W.Va., the second on Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at South Jefferson Elementary School in Charles Town, and the third on Feb. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Shepherdstown Middle School.

Residents who attend will learn more about the Envision Jefferson 2035 project as well as the current state of the county through data and maps, Brockman said.

“We want the public to come to the workshops and tell us what they like about Jefferson County and what they would like it to be in 2035,” Brockman said.

Brockman broke down the current plan’s success and lack of success in three segments.

She said the accomplishments over the 10 years include additional uses in rural zoning districts, establishment of an annexation map and urban/growth boundaries and the Jefferson County Farmland Board. Impact fees were implemented, stream buffers were established as was a countywide inventory of historic resources.

Goals outlined in the 2004 plan that were started but not completed included municipal cooperation, land use along the U.S. 340 Corridor, parkland needs, cluster development, clean drinking water and establishing water supply in the Blue Ridge Mountain communities, she said.

Among goals that were part of the 2004 plan, but weren’t accomplished were a transportation plan and impact study, affordable housing, dry hydrants, lighting standards, a U.S. 340 Gateway plan, establishing new zoning categories and maximum density, Brockman said.

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