Public can weigh in on proposed land use plan

CHARLES TOWN — The public will be given the opportunity to weigh in on proposed revisions to Jefferson County’s Comprehensive Plan at a public hearing next month.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission will host a public hearing at 7 p.m., July 22 so residents can review a draft of the  Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which is also available for review on the county’s website at jeffersoncountywv.org.

The meeting happens in the meeting room of the Old Charles Town Library at 200 East Washington Street.

“The public hearing is strictly for comments that will be reviewed by the county planning commission,” said Planner Seth Rivard. “We would like suggestions, and any changes that need to be addressed in the document.”

Rivard said a question and answer period will precede the hearing and take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The document was drafted after the formation of a steering committee in the fall of 2012. Public hearings and surveys were held every few months into 2013.

“We even went to the Jefferson County Fair,” Rivard said. “We have gotten a pretty good response, a lot of public input. We are looking forward to the July public hearing. We want to be updated. The plan is community driven.”

All comments made at the hearing will be written down by commission staff and entered on a spreadsheet.

Rivard said the plan considers growth in the county over the next 20 years. He said projections call for the population of Jefferson County to grow by more than 20,000 people to between 75,000 to 80,000 residents by 2035.

The Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan includes a land map to show where growth and development should take place in the future.

“We want development in appropriate areas,” Rivard said. “The plan talks about nontraditional activities for farms, for example. These activities could be a brewery, distilleries or a restaurant on a farm site. Farmers could have areas where they could have a farm machinery repair business. We want farms to remain economically viable.”

Rivard said final authorization of the approved draft will be made by the Jefferson County Commission.

For more information, contact the Envision Jefferson project staff at EnvisionJefferson2035@jeffersoncountywv.org or call at 304-728-3228.

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