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Commission calls for a do-over

By Staff | Sep 8, 2012

The Shepherdstown Planning Commission took no action on the Kalathas annexation proposal at a public hearing held Tuesday.

The Planning Commission’s only decision made was to terminate the public hearing in favor of a do-over, to be held at a later date.

Planning Commissioners came to the decision to begin again in their consideration of the possible annexation, after Tuesday’s meeting resulted in more questions than answers.

“There aren’t plans, Commission President Josh Stella said in response to a community member Borys Tkacz’s contention over what he saw as a uninformative public meeting.

I was expecting some details,” Tkacz said.

According to Frank Hill, attorney for Kalathas, the annexation proposal in question would allow for the rehabilitation of Kalathas’s historic mansion and the rezoning of his eight acre lot.

According to Hill’s presentation, the intended use for the rehabbed building has been expressed as a convention hall, small destination resort or inn. Hill also said the business plans could potentially include a food services component in the future, though he characterized those plans a “pure speculation.”

For now, the petitioner has requested permission to move ahead with restoration and has requested upon annexation, a zoning classification of Residential-Commercial for the entire eight acre lot, with the permitted uses of the property falling under section 9-602 (e) of town code – a request that confounded Stella.

Im just seeing a mismatch between intended use and the annexation proposal, he said.

Stella worried that the granting of a Residential-Commercial classification for the entire lot would leave the town vulnerable to unforeseen changes in the nature of property’s use by future business owners or developers.

“we’re just trying to be good stewards of the interests of the town in the long run,” he said.

In addition to questions raised regarding zoning, Commissioner Karene Motivans asked for more specific detail with regard to the building’s architectural changes and use of the remaining acreage.

Motivans asked if Kalathas could provide projections with regard to the number of rooms the inn would include, its impact on traffic patterns and plans for use of green space, among other things.

“I support the intent, she said. “But there’s got to be more than, ‘I don’t know yet,'” she said of the proposal.

Though Hill contended that the submitted proposal met requirements for the town ordinance as is, he agreed to review the plan with Zoning Officer Harvey Heyser within the coming weeks in order structure a proposal with more detail.

Another public hearing will held regarding the updated proposal. A date has not been set.