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Title 9 issues forwarded to council

By Staff | Sep 23, 2011

Monday, the Shepherdstown Planning Commission held second readings for two of the four items that were originally heard at August’s public hearing and voted to send them to town council for recommendation of approval.

Committees on short-term rental housing and fences presented changes made since the last public hearing, and commissioners this time felt comfortable moving recommendations forward.

The short-term rental housing committee more clearly defined the terms “boarding house” and “short-term rental housing” as well as fine-tuned Section 9-214 of Title 9, addressing the issue, for adoption.

The recommended adoption states such units “shall be a business similar to transient lodging businesses such as bed & breakfast establishments, boarding houses, hotels, motels, rooming houses, and tourist homes. Short-term rental properties shall not be deemed home occupations.”

Planning Commission Vice President Chris Stroech said while there were slight changes to the section, he would like to keep the matter on the commission’s even after recommending it to town council.

“I think it’s a pressing issue, and we certainly have a lot on our plate right now,” Stroech said of the board’s other duties.

But he stressed that the committee addressing the amendment received much feedback on the matter.

Mayor Jim Auxer ultimately made the motion to recommend the changes in the language to town council.

The recommendations passed with a vote of 8-1 with Commissioner Bane Schill voting against.

Commissioner Karene Motivans updated the rest of the members of changes made to the fence ordinance recommendations since the August meeting.

The ordinance, sectioned 9-802, will be formatted like all other ordinance sections, with an outlined configuration. A sentence will be added addressing lot arrangements not laid out in the ordinance. They will be considered “based on the (commission’s) evaluation of the position of the adjacent streets and alleys.”

The committee also added a definition for “step down,” as well as adjusted sentencing in the ordinance.

Along with the recommendation to approve the revisions, Motivans said they addressed gradation changes in yards as well as swimming pool fences.

The fence committee’s recommendations were unanimously voted to be sent to town council for approval.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Motivans inquired about the status of the incoming proposals for the consultant position the town advertised for to assist in the Rumsey Green project.

Zoning Officer Harvey Heyser said the town has received three proposals. The received proposals are Placemakers, which has worked with the City of Ranson; Robert Anderson, brother of Shepherdstown resident Richard Anderson, who hosts the planning blog Rt230; and Thrasher Engineering, a West Virginia-based civil engineering, design and management firm.

Motivans thought the comprehensive plan needed to appear on the commission’s agenda again, as it needs to be addressed every 10 years.

“I think the Rumsey Green project can form a seed for the comprehensive plan,” Planning Commission President Josh Stella said.

The planning commission will have a second meeting this month, set to take place Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.