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Kudos to town representatives

By Staff | Nov 25, 2011

In last week’s editorial, The Shepherdstown Chronicle charged the Jefferson County Commission to remember: democracy first.

While that might not have been the case from our county commissioners, our local planning commissioners deserve praise for acting after hearing concerns from landowners, stakeholders and others affected by a rezoning request just outside of town.

At Monday night’s Shepherdstown Planning Commission meeting, many came out urging commissioners to put their foot down about the 13-plus acre plot of land adjacent to Morgan’s Grove Park that Shepherdstown resident Peter Corum wants to rezone from “rural” to “commercial-industrial.”

Unity was the theme at Monday night’s meeting as all who spoke on the issue showed their strong disapproval for the project. Fears among the crowd included an eventual development of the area that would encroach upon the historic park and neighboring properties; contamination to the Town Run, with headwaters beginning around Morgan’s Grove Park; and the long litigation history of the land, among other concerns.

The town planning commission unanimously approved to recommend to the Jefferson County Commission to deny the request due to its impact on the Shepherdstown community.

Planning Commission President Josh Stella said when he took his seat in local government, he wanted to make sure he represented the people’s views as best as he could.

“It’s very unusual that we get this number of people at one of our meetings,” Stella said. “I’ve never seen one unanimous.”

While many in this area may have felt they haven’t been heard at they county level, at least they are being heard by their local elected officials. Due process must be the answer for such a contentious issue.