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Title 9 allowed local project

May 19, 2011
Josh Stella, Shepherdstown

As the chair of the Planning Commission and a member of Town Council, I was pleased to read the short editorial on our voting for the approval of solar panels for the Hitt's project. I agree with the author of that comment that the current PC is very interested in making progress in an historically compatible way.

That said, the decision on the Hitt's project was reached precisely the same way we reach all our decisions - by applying Title 9 of our Town's ordinances - not by reinterpreting them or bending the rules. If you want to know what is allowable in Town, simply read the ordinance. The Hitts did, and proposed a project that was completely acceptable within the title and therefore didn't require a variance.

The reason I'm writing is to make clear that the proper place to make policy and ordinances is the Town Council - the Planning Commission merely enforces the rules they are entrusted to uphold. We are right now finishing up our initial cuts at modernizing and clarifying the fence and sign portions of Title 9, and will be considering what our next projects should be in the immediate future. This is an invitation to let us know what you think our priorities should be in terms of modifying the title.

On a related subject, our Town now has an opportunity right now to change our power use in a more substantive way. Our contract with Allegheny Power has expired, and as a member of Town Council, I volunteered to look into alternatives to simply signing another 30-year contract. If anyone in the community has creative suggestions, industry knowledge or other useful information to having a realistic local energy plan, please let me know.

 
 

 

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