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Re: News: National Park Discussed for Battle of Shepherdstown Site

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  • jeffcowvplanning
    David Lutton asked: I see by the article that the developer is planning an appeal . What is the local gauge as to its success? Response: I used to be the
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 11, 2005
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      David Lutton asked:

      I see by the article that the developer is planning an appeal . What
      is the local gauge as to its success?

      Response:

      I used to be the chief planner for Jefferson County. From my
      understanding of the information surrounding this decision (as I have
      followed it in the press), I would estimate that the applicant has a
      greater than average (but not air tight) chance of getting the
      decision overturned. Given a variety of variables, it will likely be
      upheld at the Circuit Court level but overturned at the state supreme
      court.

      Keep in mind that Jefferson County is the only county in WV with
      county-wide zoning, and even then, it is a limited "loosey-goosey"
      system, which I advocated abandoning in favor of standard zoning when
      I worked there. They are getting close to rewriting their subdivision
      and zoning ordinances soon...so it will be interesting to see how it
      goes and what results.

      The property had to pass through what is called the "LESA" system,
      which assesses property outside of the "Growth" area for
      appropriateness for development. It assesses distance to developed
      areas, schools, emergency services, quality of soil (to remain as
      farmland) and surrounding land uses. The property passed this test
      so, if the zoning ordinance is faithfully administered, the developer
      should have gone into the process with a general presumption that the
      development is appropriate.

      Nowhere in the zoning ordinance does it say that they can take whether
      it is a Civil War battlefield into account. If it was, then this
      argument could be used against any development, as most of Jefferson
      County, in one way or another, is a Civil War battlefield.

      Apparently, they also provided a traffic study that said the roads
      system will not be overburdened by traffic that went unrefuted in the
      record, yet the BZA concluded that the traffic would be unacceptable.
      This (apparently) is not based on information in the record.

      Keep in mind that there are two stories here....the macro
      story...regional and national interest in preserving the
      battlefield...and the micro story....no-growth locals (most of whom
      are relatively recent transplants) who are happy to co-opt this issue
      as a convenient reason to oppose another "evil" housing development.

      As someone who is both a planner, and an APCWS member, I find that the
      real problem here is that there has been no advanced planning on what
      the community believes is worthy of preservation. This allows every
      place where there was a skirmish to become a potential "reason of the
      week" by the no-growth locals to fight every housing development that
      comes along.

      The County needs to identify what areas are worthy of preservation,
      adjust the zoning in those areas so they do not become housing
      developments, and administer that policy/ordinance. Once in place,
      then this argument should not be accepted on lesser sites.

      In this respect, Washington County did a good job by studying the
      Antietam viewshed and placing protections for that area on their
      zoning map. Jefferson County needs to do the same.

      I was always strongly in favor of changing the rules and making them
      tougher, but you cannot make up land use (or any other) law by fiat,
      which some of the elected and appointed officials there want to be
      able to do.

      Planning processes are about setting up rules to regulate development,
      and adminstering those rules...it is not about placing a property
      owner's rights into the hands of an appointed board to decide, for
      reasons not enumerated in the ordinance, if you can develop your
      property. This robs a property owner of their property rights without
      the due process of amending ordinances, then administering those
      ordinances fairly

      There IS an opportunity here for preservationists to influence their
      ordinance rewrites so this kind of fight doesn't happen again in
      Jefferson County.

      Steve B.
    • jeffcowvplanning
      Oops...I said I was an APCWS member...I meant CWPT. SRB
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 14, 2005
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        Oops...I said I was an APCWS member...I meant CWPT.

        SRB
      • richard@rcroker.com
        Okay SRB -- That does it! Your abbreviation privileges are revoked for one full month! ... From: jeffcowvplanning To:
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 14, 2005
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          Okay SRB -- That does it! Your abbreviation privileges are revoked for one
          full month!


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "jeffcowvplanning" <jeffcowvplanning@...>
          To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 7:47 PM
          Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: News: National Park Discussed for Battle of
          Shepherdstown Site


          > Oops...I said I was an APCWS member...I meant CWPT.
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