Harpers Ferry furious over state exertion of zoning authority

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HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — Harpers Ferry officials are fighting back over, what they say, is the improper exercise of state authority in town zoning laws.

The dispute comes over a bill signed into law last March that designates the eastern panhandle community a “tourist development district.” Critics say it is a special accommodation for an out-of-state private equity firm that wants to build an upscale hotel on one of the town’s most scenic peaks overlooking the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Harpers Ferry Mayor Wayne Bishop says the state law strips his town of its power to enact zoning ordinances.

“A private equity firm didn’t want to follow our laws,” said Bishop. “Now the state got involved in it and they will dismiss and vacate all of our zoning.”

The state Commerce Department is expeced to open a 30-day public comment perioid on the legislation.

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