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Commission urges urban boundary

By Staff | Jul 22, 2011

Monday the Shepherdstown Planning Commission voted to recommend an urban growth boundary to town council as well as scheduled a public hearing to hear feedback concerning revisions made to the fence section of the town ordinance.

Commissioners unanimously voted to recommend the UGB be where the town’s future water and sewer service area will reach, out to the Berkeley County line along Rocky Marsh Run and along the Potomac River and Gardeners Lane and Trough Road.

But the recommendation came after much discussion on the matter.

Commission President Josh Stella said his personal philosophy is that the UGB is moot the town cannot go past it easily and does not have much power within the boundary as there is a memorandum of understanding that must be drafted with county planning and zoning officials. Stella, worried if a decision were appealed, said the MOU would not hold up in court.

“An MOU is not law,” he said.

But, he said he understands the idea of drawing a larger UGB so the town is free to annex within the boundary.

“The bigger we draw it the better,” Stella said, adding, however, that he didn’t see the town annexing as far out as the town’s future service area extends.

Commissioner Bane Schill said that drawing the UGB around the future service area allows the town to protect area watersheds from potential development.

Some commissioners worried about residents’ reaction to the large boundary recommendation, but Commissioner Kathryn Bragg-Stella said the board needs to consider how to communicate the line to the people.

“It’s almost an administrative boundary,” said Commissioner Karene Motivans.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners discussed holding a public hearing for changes a subcommittee has made to Title 9, Section 802 regarding fences. The subcommittee has been working on the proposed changes, now sectioned 803, for months. Subcommittee member Bragg-Stella said revisions offer clarity to applicants while Motivans, another member, said it remains in the “same spirit of the original fence ordinance.”

Community members are invited to comment on the revisions to this section of the town ordinance at the planning commissions next meeting, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.