Repost from Leah Knicely, 12-WBOY
Repost from Leah Knicely, 12-WBOY
ROANOKE, WV - The Second Annual Mountain State Land Use Academy Statewide Conference was held on May 2-3, 2017 at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, organized by the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law, in partnership with the West Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association. The annual conference is the largest gathering of professional land use planners and citizen planners in the state. The plenary sessions focused on rural planning, planning for floods, and the planning accomplishments of several communities in the state. Breakout sessions covered a wide range of land use planning issues and were led by leading experts on the issues in West Virginia.
One highlight of the conference was the presentation of two individual awards and one community award. The Joyce McConnell Award for Professional Contributions to Planning honors a land use planner, attorney, architect, engineer, local government staff person, or other professional who advances land use planning in the state of West Virginia through their professional work. This year’s winner, Jennifer M. Brockman, County Planner for Jefferson County, has over 25 years of land use experience in Kentucky, Colorado, and West Virginia. Ms. Brockman has guided the county through several major changes to the zoning ordinance and a complete update of the comprehensive plan. She also helped develop the county’s first future land use map. She is a leader in the land use planning community and is lauded by co-workers and community members for her kind and generous manner.
Situated along the banks of the Ohio River, Wellsburg serves as the county seat for Brooke County in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. The city worked with the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic to adopt a comprehensive plan in November 2014 and has since been working to complete all high-priority goals. Of all goals intended to be completed by November 2019, 80% are in progress or are already completed.
The first goal, “ Create sound land use strategies” noted a special focus on the completion of a bridge project. Construction of the proposed bridge is set to begin in 2018 and should be completed in 2021. The bridge will cross the Ohio River just south of Wellsburg and will connect West Virginia Route 2 to Ohio Route 7. The completion will require a large amount of cooperation between state agencies, neighboring counties, and the City of Brilliant, Ohio. Updating the zoning ordinance is an additional priority; and will be carried out with help from LUSD attorney Jared Anderson. Mayor Sue Simonetti has put an emphasis on annexation and the education of public officials on the annexation process, but any attempts by the city to annex surrounding lands have been denied by the county commission.
Located in the lower portion of the northern panhandle, Moundsville sits along the banks of the Ohio River. The county seat of Marshall County, Moundsville has a population of 9,318 but is a part of the Wheeling Metro Statistical Area that has a total population of 144,637. The city worked extensively with the Land Use and Sustainable Development Clinic to complete a comprehensive plan, which was incorporated in July 2014. The comprehensive plan featured six goals addressing issues that planning committee members and residents found to be important. In less than 3 years since the plan was created, Moundsville has been largely successful in implementing the plan: 76% of goals that were intended to be completed within 5 years have been completed or are in the planning stage.
The first goal of the comprehensive plan pertained to updating zoning ordinances to comply with West Virginia code. LUSD attorney Jared Anderson is assisting with the zoning ordinance updates, which should be finished this spring. The city also wanted to educate officials on the annexation process and plan for annexation because the city is almost entirely built out. Both are in progress, with areas both north and south of the city being considered for annexation to Moundsville.