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Corum calls for dialogue

By Staff | Jan 20, 2012

Peter Corum, who has been involved in the proposed rezoning of property adjacent to Morgan’s Grove Park, addressed town planning commission members Monday evening calling for open communication and cooperation with regard to the property.

A request was made before the Jefferson County Commission to rezone the property to Commercial/Light Industrial several weeks ago. The request was denied by the Commission with a vote of 5-0. The vote followed more than an hour of public discussion where many residents of Shepherdstown who were opposed to the rezoning move spoke.

Corum told commissioners Monday that he felt he had been left out of the initial public hearing held by the town in November.

“You had a hearing I didn’t get to participate in,” he said. “I feel you missed out on a lot of information.”

The hearing was a public meeting and open to any individual who wished to address the issue.

Corum said that his goal with the property is not to bring in a business with industrial use. He said that he believes the word “industrial” raised fear in the minds of neighboring property-owners where no fear should be.

“We picked the zoning we did because it was the most stringent,” Corum said. “There have already been four conditional use permits on that property,” he pointed out.

With the vote of the County Commission, Corum’s options are limited to seeking a Conditional Use Permit to move ahead with plans for his project which will provide the community with an avenue of promoting agriculture and distribution of local products.

“Over the past five years, I have been on a sustainability and environmental kick,” Corum shared. “I believe we are on the verge of an agricultural revolution.”

The proposed uses of the property adjacent to Morgan’s Grove Park will not only continue the venue of selling local products but also help promote the arts community while providing an avenue for artists to sell their work. Another goal Corum said he has is to educate the public about health and exercise as well as provide an economic platform for nonprofits to gain some fundraising and revenue-producing opportunities.

“I am as vested as everyone here and aware of the interests for and against,” Corum said. “I wanted to open the lines of communication. If you have a question about my project, ask me,” he told planning commissioners.

Josh Stella indicated that he did not hear any characterizations of the project but rather concerns were over the rezoning of the property.

“There was not an aversion to the proposed project,” he said, “but moreso to the zoning change request.” Stella went on to say that concerns stemmed from the fact that once the property is rezoned, it doesn’t matter what the original intentions are, that property is open to uses designated by that zoning classification.

Corum and the commission agreed to be in open communication regarding what the uses of the property will be as well as any further projects Corum may bring forth.

“We need your input not only on your project, but all those facing the town,” David Springer said.