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Panel addresses annexation

By Staff | May 19, 2011

At Monday evening’s meeting, the Shepherdstown Planning Commission discussed the possible annexation west of town as well as a break down of budgetary needs.

Commissioners discussed developments on the proposed Rumsey Green annexation along Route 45, in which the Rumsey Development Group has plans to erect multi-use complex. This proposal, which they originally presented in January, included a complex with services, stores and apartments, as well as a new Sheetz in place of the existing one across from Shepherd University’s West Campus entrance.

Mayor Jim Auxer said the town informed members of the development group sometime in March that they had to conduct a traffic study.

“They thought maybe there would be someway to not have a traffic study,” he said.

Zoning Office Harvey Heyser said the prime time to do this study has passed now that most students have left for the summer.

“It’s going to be the fall before they can get reasonable traffic data,” he said.

While the town awaits the group’s study, the planning commission agreed that Commissioner David Springer would research smart code, a paid-for planning template for towns looking for a unified design among developed lands.

In the past, when Michelle Hurney, of a Clarksburg, Md., building firm, presented a petition for annexation in 2004, the town paid for and employed smart growth to the design, which was eventually foreclosed upon.

Springer suggested that Rumsey Green developers purchase a smart growth module as “design standards” instead of the town spending the money.

gI think that would be beneficial to all sides to the community,” he said.

Commissioner David Rosen said he foresaw Springer’s idea as town officials approving the overall smart code module rather than individual design aspects of the developers’ proposed project.

The commission also discussed putting together a proposed budget for town council to review.

Commissioners discussed legal and expert expenses being a priority as well as the costs for annexation projects, a flood plain map and general operating expenses.

Heyser put a list together of budgetary items for commissioners to consider including items such as an update to the town’s comprehensive plan, professional guidance on mapping an urban growth boundary, area plans and preservation-related costs.

Planning Commission Chair Josh Stella said by the the group’s June meeting he and Auxer will have looked at past years’ expenditures to determine a budget outline.

The planning commission will hold a special meeting Monday, May 23 to consider the William Struna application at 7 p.m. at the Entler Hotel. To read about the historic landmarks commission’s decision regarding the Struna application, visit bit.ly/ikPW5E.