Fayette development gets an OK
By Matthew Hill
FAYETTEVILLE— Following two hours of
presentations and the airing of local grievances, Fayette County commissioners
on Friday unanimously approved a change in zoning classification of 744 acres
for a planned housing development.
The area, to be known as Wild Rock
West Virginia, surrounds the current headquarters of Class VI River Runners in
Ames Heights, whose owners are partners in the proposed project with Optima
Properties WV LLC.
Carl Frischkorn, a general partner
in Optima, provided commissioners with a brief presentation on the concept,
emphasizing the endeavor would not come to fruition overnight. He added that
Friday marked the fourth time in two weeks he had presented the details of the
proposed development to the community.
Responding to community concerns
about traffic flow, Frischkorn noted a traffic impact study concluded that no
more than 1,300 or 1,400 daily trips would be made by vehicles on Chestnutburg Road once all 160 homes were completed. The
road, according to state Division of Highways officials, is designed for 2,000
Frischkorn also claimed only five
houses would be visible within the New River Gorge viewshed,
and that would be only during “leafless” conditions, when the public is
primarily not using the New River Gorge National River.
“Change is hard, and the status quo
seems to be a pretty good thing,” park Superintendent Don Striker said.
“Change is coming, though. It’s
incumbent upon us to plan for it. The viewshed is not
as big an issue here (as it is with other housing developments near the gorge).
This is upriver and over the ridge. We really are satisfied with what we’ve
seen thus far.”
Fayetteville attorney James
Blankenship, who spoke on behalf of the developers, insisted the process of
development was a slow one that would come only in phases. “Optima is very cognizant of the responsibilities it will have.
There’s still a long row to hoe (procedurally).”
Blankenship added developers had allocated 25 percent of the acreage to so-called “green space” and that recreational activities typically surrounded such a development.
A number of area residents remained
unconvinced. Many of their worries revolved around preserving the community’s
character and preventing traffic problems on narrow Chestnutburg
Prior to Frischkorn’s
presentation, Fayette County Zoning Enforcement Officer Tim Richardson tendered
to commissioners a petition containing 200 signatures against the project.
The petition, from which Richardson read aloud, stated that “second-home owners are not our neighbors” and asked, “there are already several developments on the gorge. Do we really need another?”
On Monday, the Fayette County Planning and Zoning Commission voted overwhelmingly to endorse the project and forward it to the county commission for Friday’s public hearing.