Existing Land Use Summary
The following is a summary of the existing land use patterns found both within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown as well as in the larger Growth Management Boundary area. Land use classifications used to develop this summary are based upon the land use classifications assigned by Jefferson County.
Shepherdstown Existing Land Use
Land that has been developed for residential use, which is comprised predominantly of single family dwellings but also includes some small scale multi-family developments, occupies approximately 71 acres, or 36%, of the land within the corporate limits. The 273 individual lots that have been developed with single family dwellings account for around 85% of the acreage developed for residential purposes in the corporate limits. These single family residential properties have an average size of 0.23 acres, which is approximately 10,000 square feet. Overall, there is very little variation in residential lot sizes, with the exception of residential properties located in close proximity to the river or on the margins of the town. Residentially developed properties are found throughout town, but are concentrated most heavily in the neighborhoods along the eastern and western ends of German Street, New Street and Washington Street south of German Street, Princess Street and Mill Street north of German Street and the eastern and western ends of High Street.
Accounting for around 45% of the land within the corporate limits, property that is used for public and institutional purposes occupies just over 88 acres within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown. While inclusive of all uses of this nature, land used for this purpose is split nearly equally between land that is part of Shepherd University and land that is owned by the town, churches and similar public or institutional organizations. Like residential land uses, property used for this purpose is found throughout the corporate limits. The most significant concentrations, however, are found in the central and north central section of the community on Shepherd University’s East Campus, the areas in the corporate limits north of High Street on Shepherd University’s West Campus, the southwestern corner of the town south of West German Street and the northeastern corner of the town on either side of the railroad.
Mixed commercial / residential land uses occupy just over 5 acres, or 3%, of the land in the corporate limits. These land uses are most heavily associated with and concentrated in downtown Shepherdstown along in the central part of the community along German Street and the block of Princess Street immediately south of German Street.
Land used for purely commercial purposes occupies close to 10 acres, or around 5% of the total amount of land within the corporate limits. Land used for commercial purposes id concentrated in the south central portion of the town along East Washington Street near the railroad and in the north central portion of the town on North Duke Street between the East and West Campuses of Shepherd University. Other commercially used properties are scattered around town along primary streets such as German, Duke and Princess. These scattered parcels, however, make up only a small fraction of the total amount of land used for commercial purposes.
The remainder of the land within town is classified by Jefferson County as being vacant. This consists of a single parcel in the southeastern corner of town along German Street at the eastern edge of the corporate limits n the town.
|Land Use Category||Shepherdstown||Percent of Area||Growth
|Percent of Area||Combined Area||Percent of Area|
|Mixed Use||5.3||2.7%||0.2||< 0.1%||5.5||0.1%|
|Public / Institutional||88.3||45.1%||1,014.7||8.8%||1,103||9.4%|
Growth Management Boundary Existing Land Use
The predominant classification of land in the Town’s Growth Management Boundary (GMB) is land used for agricultural purposes. With 5,730 acres of property classified in this manner, agricultural land accounts for slightly less than 50% of the area of the GMB. The agricultural land use classification includes land classified by Jefferson County as both “active” and “inactive” farms. The largest individual property classified for agricultural use in the GMB is approximately 260 acres, and as a group, parcels used for agricultural purposes have an average size of 37 acres. Farmland is found throughout the growth management boundary, but is most heavily concentrated in the areas located along the western portion of the GMB, particularly north of Route 45. Other concentrations of agricultural land are found along the southern border of the GMB due south of Shepherdstown and in the areas immediately east of Shepherdstown’s corporate limits.
Residentially developed land within the GMB is the second most predominant type of land use in the area outside of the town limits, with over 3,000 acres classified in that manner, which accounts for over 26% of the land area of the GMB. Like residentially developed properties within the corporate limits, land used for residential purposes is comprised primarily of single family dwellings. The 1,715 parcels that contain a single family dwelling account for over 93% of the residentially used land in the GMB. Single family lots within the GMB have an average size of 1.45 acres, which is almost 7 times larger than similarly developed properties inside of Shepherdstown’s corporate limits. Residential development in the GMB is most heavily concentrated in the areas in closest proximity to Shepherdstown’s corporate limits, with the exception of areas due east of town. The most intensively developed residential areas are found along the Route 45 and Route 480 corridors west and south of town. The area north of the corporate limits of Shepherdstown along Shepherd Grade Road are broadly developed (from a geographic perspective) with residential uses, but with the exception of the area surrounding the golf course, the intensity of development tends to be lower in this area than along the Route 45 and 480 corridors. The remainder of the GMB has much lower densities and intensities of residential development than what is found in the aforementioned areas.
The GMB contains slightly more than 77 acres of land used for commercial purposes, including the very small amount of mixed commercial / residential land in the area, which together account for less than 1% of the total land area in the GMB. Commercially developed properties in the GMB are concentrated most heavily along the Route 45 corridor west of Shepherdstown’s corporate limits, but even in this area commercial development is relatively dispersed, with the exception of the area around the Maddex Square shopping center. The remainder of the land developed for commercial purposes in the GMB is scattered throughout the area, though typical found only along the major road corridors.
Property that is used or developed for public and institutional uses in the GMB has a total area of over 1,000 acres, accounting for nearly 9% of the land area of the GMB. Among the properties developed for this purpose is the National Conservation Training Center (located at the northern end of Shepherd Grade Road), which alone accounts for half of the public and institutional land in the GMB. The portion of Shepherd University’s West Campus that is located outside of Shepherdstown’s corporate limits and the golf course at Cress Creek combine to contribute a significant portion of the remaining amount of land used for these purposes in the GMB. The remainder of the land used for public and institutional purposes that is found in the GMB, including churches, schools and similar uses, is concentrated fairly centrally in the general vicinity of Shepherdstown, particularly along the Route 45 and 480 corridors.
Approximately 500 acres of land, representing slightly more than 4% of the total land area of the GMB, is subject to conservation easements, and therefore classified by Jefferson County as being in “conservation” use. These properties are located primarily in the eastern portion of the GMB, with large amounts of acreage designated for this purpose located north of Shepherdstown along the Potomac River, as well as along Engle Moler Road and River Road near the eastern edge of the GMB. Land classified by Jefferson County as being vacant is found throughout the area within the GMB. With over 1,100 acres classified in this manner, vacant land accounts for approximately 10% of the land area of the GMB. While generally found widely scattered throughout the area, land classified as being vacant does represent a significant amount of the land in the southwestern portion of the GMB (between Routes 45 and 480).
Developed and Undeveloped Land Use Comparison
Developed land uses, including land classified by Jefferson County as residential, commercial, mixed use and public / institutional account for nearly 90% of the land area within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown. This degree of development and urbanization is in stark contrast to what is found in the GMB outside of the corporate limits where only 36% of the land is used for one of these “developed” purposes. The amount of “undeveloped” land in the GMB, which includes land used for agricultural purposes or is otherwise classified as vacant or conservation, is nearly 7,400 acres, or over 11.5 square miles. Adding together the land use classifications of the areas within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown and outside of the corporate limits in the GMB does little to change the relative proportions of developed and undeveloped land in the combined area. Together, the developed share of the area is around 37%, while the undeveloped share is close to 63%.
|Jurisdiction||Developed||Percent of Area||Undeveloped||Percent of Area|
|0.25 Acres or Smaller||354||44.7||22.8%||0.12|
|0.25 to 0.5 Acres||81||26.7||13.6%||0.33|
|0.5 to 1 Acre||40||27.9||14.2%||0.7|
|1 Acre or Larger||26||97||49.4%||3.73|