Comprehensive Plan aired at hearing
Citizens will get a chance to comment on the draft version of the Morgan County Comprehensive Plan at a public hearing this Thursday night, January 18.
The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the Warm Springs Intermediate School cafeteria, and was organized by the Morgan County Planning Commission.
The county comprehensive plan was adopted about 1980 and was last revised more than 20 years ago. The current update began about two years ago and has been done with the assistance of a consulting firm, ARRO, Inc.
A series of public meetings to explain the plan and its intentions were conducted in the spring of 2005.
The current draft is a 250-page document that is essentially an overview of Morgan County. It contains information about present land use, population and growth statistics, housing, historical communities, the local economy, prospective industry, education facilities, local government and its financing, roads, agriculture, recreation opportunities, rare animals and plants, and many other topics.
Twenty color-coded maps illustrate specific subjects, such as the locations of schools, geology and soil types, public utilities, watershed areas and existing communities.
The plan serves as a one-stop collection of Morgan County data that government can use when making decisions about future development and policies.
Among the expressed goals are to create conditions favorable to the public health and safety, reduce the waste of haphazard development, use natural resources wisely and preserve historic sites.
The plan stresses existing towns
and areas with public services as being the preferred areas for development, but it is not a zoning ordinance. No specific land use restrictions are given for sections of the county.
Information about water availability, historical sites, conservation and other subjects can be used by county officials as they see fit when making future land use decisions.
In addition to the public hearing, the planning commission are taking citizens' comments in writing or via email.
After hearing from the public, the planning commission will consider revisions and corrections of factual errors in the draft plan.
When the document is completed in the months ahead, the planners will forward the finished version to the Morgan County Commissioners, who will decide whether to adopt it.
Copies of the proposed plan can be reviewed at the Morgan County Planning Office, the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs and the Paw Paw Public Library.
The plan is posted on-line at the Morgan County government website: www.morgancountywv.info.
Copies can be purchased for $10 at the Planning Commission Office.