(Posted Sept. 22, 2020)
Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
New development may be coming to West Jefferson.
West Jefferson Properties LLC is seeking rezoning for 21 acres along U.S. Route 40 that connect the east and west of the village to downtown. If the rezoning is granted, the land would go from separate agricultural, residential and business designations to a single planned mixed use area. West Jefferson Properties LLC plans to use the land to build apartments, stores and offices.
“West Jefferson is growing. It’s not going to be the small, sleepy town it’s been, but with that growth a lot will change,” said Police Chief Chris Floyd.
New development may increase traffic through downtown, said Mayor Ray Martin.
There’s little the village can do to increase road capacity as most roads are privately or state owned, he said.
However, new development can be good for the village economy, as more residents and more traffic may mean more people shopping in town, he added.
“We’re trying to keep a balance with all of the growth,” Martin continued. “We need the growth. We want a store. We want a newer class of housing. And in order to get that, there’s other balances that have to come into effect.”
West Jefferson Properties LLC has not determined any concrete plans for the building site yet. If their land is rezoned, the company will talk to villagers in the surrounding community for feedback and conduct site research before they draw up site plans, said Connie Klema, a representative from West Jefferson Properties LLC. Village council can then vote to approve or deny the site plans.
“I’m not going to be a stranger,” Klema said. “I want to create something beautiful.”
In other news, Greenhaven Development is seeking to rezone 27 acres of land along U.S. Route 142 between Garfield Avenue and Converse Avenue. The company desires a planned mixed use designation in order to build $250,000 to $300,000 single-family homes and two-story condominiums that match the surrounding subdivision. Greenhaven seeks to construct 112 homes on the site, however, their building plans are yet to be approved. If the rezoning is granted, council must approve Greenhaven Development’s plans.
“It’s a very nice community–well planned out,” Martin said.