‘Ready for a New Era:’ New planning vision, zoning, Comprehensive Plan become law

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 17, Ranson City Council members unanimously approved proposals some two years in the making, enacting a new zoning code and Comprehensive Plan designed to guide growth and redevelopment for decades to come.

“There was never any doubt these measures would pass into law,” said Ranson Mayor A. David Hamill. “That’s because, from the beginning, we involved everybody – property owners, business people, developers and elected officials from both Ranson and Charles Town. We all had a hand in turning our ideas into plans and ordinances. By making them law, we’re signaling to our partners in the federal agencies that funded the planning and to those considering investment in our region that we’re ready for a new era.”

Ranson attracted $6 million in grants and loans from three federal agencies — the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) – and contracted with an international team of consultants. With the EPA money, the planning partners designed proposals for repurposing six brownfield sites into future locations for new businesses. HUD funding provided resources for a rezoning approach to guide smarter growth and redevelopment. And the DOT grant enabled the redesign of a key corridor into a connective boulevard and plans for the transformation of historic Charles Washington Hall in Charles Town into a commuter center, strengthening links between regional rail and regional residents. HUD BEDI funds will assist in the redevelopment of the former Kidde Foundry.

In a series of meetings with community members, staff and officials – including those in neighboring Charles Town – the separate planning efforts were interwoven into a comprehensive strategy. To the federally funded planning projects, the City of Ranson added a revamp of its Comprehensive Plan to bring it into compliance with the new plans and zoning code.

“The whole became greater than the sum of the parts,” said Mayor Hamill.

Each step in the process was documented on this website, unfolding through the posts preceding this one. So citizens, officials and future community investors had open access to follow the progress from beginning until final passage of the proposals on April 17.

Finalized versions of the adopted documents can be found here.