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Planners to urge residential areas at interchange

Based on input from two public hearings and a special committee, an engineering firm is ready to present its final vision of the development of the Interstate 64 Lanesville interchange.
The Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission got a sneak preview of Birch Trautwein & Mims’ recommendation at its Dec. 6 meeting. The public is invited to see the presentation Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.
“We’re recommending a lot of residential area,” said Phil Bills, a former plan commission member who works for Birch Trautwein.
The plan commission began a study last summer of the undeveloped interchange and placed a moratorium (which expires Dec. 31) on rezoning any property within a 10-square-mile radius of the interchange. (During the moratorium, property owners could request special exceptions and develop their land under existing zoning guidelines.)
“This study and the resulting land use plan will serve to guide all future land use decisions made by the plan commission and county commissioners,” said county planner Eric Wise, “and will provide the supporting documentation necessary to defend denial of land use changes which are inconsistent with the community’s vision.”
“There’s been a pretty substantial population growth (in Harrison County) from 1970 to 2000,” Bills said, adding that the county is growing at the fastest rate of those in the surrounding area.
“The area is being pressured for development,” he said.
Land around the interchange has remained undeveloped mostly due to lack of a wastewater treatment plant or sewers.
In developing an interchange plan, Bills said his firm considered several items, including traffic counts.
Besides data on vehicles traveling the interstate, the firm has traffic counts for vehicles exiting at U.S. 150, state roads 64 and 62 at Georgetown, and at Crandall-Lanesville Road, the focal point of the study.
Visioning includes making road improvements between the Lanesville exit north to S.R. 64.
Bills said a “connector” route would do at least four things: reduce traffic volumes at the Georgetown interchange; reduce traffic volume that passes through Georgetown; reduce driving time for Harrison County residents who use S.R. 64, and improve access to the study area.
During the presentation, Bills outlined the study area’s strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths include a new water tank, “gently rolling topography,” access to I-64, and rail transportation for business.
The lack of a wastewater treatment facility on the north side of the interstate, a “poor” water system on the south side of I-64, and needed road improvements were listed among the weaknesses.
A condensed presentation of Birch Trautwein’s slide show is available on the Internet at
Copies of the draft are available in the Harrison County Plan & Zoning office and the Harrison County Public Library.
Harrison County “is just going to continue to be an attractive place to live,” Bills said.