Local Business Leaders Express Concern About Development Adjacent to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 11, 2007
Contact:   Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332


Local Business Leaders Express Concern About Development Adjacent to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

National Parks Conservation Association Joins Local Businesses, Others to Urge County Officials to Deny Proposed Rezoning for Commercial Development

Harpers Ferry, W.Va. - In a letter sent yesterday to the members of the Jefferson County Commission, more than two-dozen local businesses, civic groups, and local and national organizations urged county officials to deny the rezoning request that would allow new commercial space the size of 13 Wal-Marts to be built next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. 

“Our guests come here in increasing numbers each year to escape the mundane madness of the daily traffic, congestion, and sprawl of their world. They come to surround themselves in quiet nature and the history of old America,” said Deborah Hale of The Jackson Rose B&B, who signed the letter. “Our landscape is special and magical and spiritual to so many, it is worth much more preserved than paved over. As such, we remain firmly opposed to the rezoning of Old Standard Quarry, and any other development project that threatens to destroy the innate rural beauty of Jefferson County.”

Rezoning more than 400 acres of the Old Standard Quarry property would allow massive commercial development that would snarl traffic on US 340, the main road leading into Harpers Ferry. A June 2007 study by the National Parks Conservation Association found that the proposed development would create 23,374 new daily trips or additional cars on the road, significantly more than the developers’ traffic study indicated, causing gridlock and putting tourists in the middle of the congestion they visit Harpers Ferry to escape. The Old Standard Quarry lands also have significant historical character and are critically important to the scenic views seen from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

“Economic development is only one facet of what makes a community strong.  Other aspects, such as the historic significance of the property, should be considered by county officials who ran their campaigns around protecting our heritage,” said Carol Gallant of the Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save Our Heritage, who also signed the letter. “Denial of this proposal should be a slam dunk. There is no other property with the historic and scenic values of this property and it deserves the county’s protection.”  

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 12, at 100 East Washington Street in Charles Town, the Jefferson County Commission is expected to set a date to vote on the rezoning petition.   

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