Public Urges West Virginia Planning Commission to Oppose Rezoning of Old Standard Quarry Near Harpers Ferry

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   June 6, 2007
Contact:   Joy Oakes, NPCA, 202-223-6722, ext. 260
Paul Rosa, Harpers Ferry Conservancy, 304-725-2990


Public Urges West Virginia Planning Commission to Oppose Rezoning of Old Standard Quarry Near Harpers Ferry

Residents Testify at Hearing that Development Would Harm Harpers Ferry, Increase Traffic

Charles Town, West Virginia -- The Jefferson County, West Virginia, Planning Commission last night got an earful from local residents at a public hearing on a rezoning petition for the Old Standard Quarry, which includes approximately 411 acres next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. More than 30 speakers urged the commissioners to give the petition a thumbs-down.

“Allowing for floodplain, steep slopes, Shenandoah River buffer, and the quarry lake, much of the property is unsuitable for development of any kind, let alone the intensive development proposed here,” said Paul Rosa, executive director of the Harpers Ferry Conservancy.

 

Don Campbell, superintendent of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, made a compelling presentation to the planning commission about the property’s significant Civil War history, and offered a high-tech visualization of how the proposed development would mar the park’s scenic views.

 

“We are in total support of (the park’s) efforts to protect the park boundaries and to maintain the view shed for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park,” said Bob O’Connor, vice president of the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

The towns of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar each have sent a letter to the Jefferson County Commission in opposition to the rezoning. The Old Standard Quarry owners have petitioned the county to rezone the property to allow 2 million square feet of commercial, office, and flex space¾more than 13 Charles Town Wal-Mart’s worth of space. The national historical park borders the property on the east and west, and the Shenandoah River lies along its southern edge.

 

“With its current topography and forest cover, Old Standard helps convey the authentic setting of the Civil War battlefield for visitors to the park,” said Nell Ziehl, Field Representative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

While evidence of the land’s past industrial uses remains¾and needs to be remediated¾Dennis Frye, Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and a recognized expert on Jefferson County Civil War history, pointed out that the overall landscape would be recognizable by the soldiers who fought here during the Civil War.

 

The Planning Commission has scheduled its vote on the petition on June 12, 7:00 pm, at the Charles Town Public Library, 200 East Washington Street, Charles Town.

 

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