BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — As Berkeley County grows in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, so do the challenges some homeowners face with so much rapid development. And enforcing homeowners’ rights at the county level may take action at the state level.
While the state has come through with transportation funding for Martinsburg’s downtown railroad roundhouse — earning the praise of County Council President Doug Copenhaver, Jr., and Mayor Harriet Johnson — many are frustrated that in some residential subdivisions, county planners are not delivering on sidewalk construction, traffic controls, recreation areas, preventing potential fire hazards and more stringent building codes. some activists want more control from state and county governments.
Dan Bennett represents homeowners in the county and says, “it has got to change. We have to make sure that the citizens of West Virginia here in Berkeley County are represented fairly.”
Like Bennett, Debi Carroll is a parent concerned about how growth is affecting education in the county. She is paying attention to all the new housing construction, welcoming all the new residents, but wants more coordination so growth is sensibly managed.
“We have all these housing developments going up and our schools are already overcrowded now,” says Carroll, Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates from the county in next week’s election.
Bennett thinks it is a matter of county planners being drawn from a cross-section of interests in the rapidly growing region. He says it all comes down to this” “just appoint people to the planning commission so they fairly represent the county.”
Carroll says it is all a matter of the citizens exercising their voice so the growth is manageable. Residents should get the services to which they are entitled and schools must be able to absorb the growth in the county so that it isn’t out of control.
“I know for things like this boom in residential housing we need better representation,” says Carroll.
State and county code requires that planning commissions include representation from the farming, business, and labor communities… and from “industry.”
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