WJ council hears about mixed-use development


(Posted Aug. 28, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Visitors to West Jefferson council’s Aug. 21 meeting talked about how a current trend in zoning could work for acreage located east of the village.

Karl Billitis of Harmony Development and Thomas Hart from the law firm of Isaac & Wiles provided details about planned mixed use development.

“You have guidelines for commercial planned development and for residential use, but nothing mixed use,” said Billitis who has attended past council meetings at which plans for a mixed-used residential development were discussed. The acreage Billitis and Hart represent sits on the south side of Route 40 east of West Jefferson.

Hart said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had drawn up guidelines for mixed-use development. He also showed photos of how it has been used in other parts of the country.

One photo showed a community with a boulevard-type street with walking and bicycle lanes. There was no access to driveways.

“This is not a ‘jump in your car and go’ community,” he pointed out. “It’s a work/live/play development.”

That means businesses, parks, single-family dwellings, apartments and condos all reside in one area and are under one combined zoning plan rather than several.

Hart described the concept as having “higher design standards.” He also talked about the possibility of a school in the area. About the West Jefferson acreage, he said a runway for planes will stay.

“Are we going to have to do three different zonings or are we going to do one?” Billitis asked, indicating he has been meeting with the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

In other business, council:

  • recognized James Saunders and his late wife Barbara for their many years of service to the village, the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary.
  • recognized police officer Matt Stevers for his efforts in responding to an emergency call on July 8.
  • allocated the annual $3,000 contribution to the West Jefferson Community Association for the Labor Day Ox Roast.

Council President Steve Johnston announced that the next meeting would be held Sept. 5, one day later than usual because of the Labor Day holiday.

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