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Road maintenance group stalled

October 23, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Efforts by Shenandoah North residents to start a road maintenance association in their community hit a legal pothole Thursday.

The Jefferson County Commissioners, who initially heard the request Oct. 16, decided to hold a second hearing on the issue after County Commissioner President James Knode pointed out problems with the wording of the Shenandoah North petition.

The second hearing will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Jefferson County Commissioners' meeting.

A road maintenance association allows a neighborhood to form a group that will collect fees to maintain roads in private communities.

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Shenandoah North residents said at last week's meeting that a road maintenance association was needed to collect money to be used for work on the dirt and gravel lanes, which have become rutted and nearly impassable at places.

Thursday's roadblock to the request occurred over the bylaws, which allow for future amendments.

Knode said the Circuit Court had overturned a road association effort about two years ago on the grounds that giving the association the ability to make amendments could lead to the group putting restrictions and liens on properties beyond the original intent of a road association.

"That's beyond the ability they should have," Knode said.

Under state law, the County Commissioners were required to make a decision on the road association request within 10 days of the initial hearing on Oct. 16.

But on a motion by County Commissioner Greg Lance, the County Commissioners on Thursday voted to make no decision yet.

Lance said the commissioners will remove the improper wording from the association request and hold another hearing on the changes to give residents a chance to respond.

Lance said he did not want to require those in favor of a road maintenance association to get signatures again.

Earlier in the meeting, Lance had spoken in favor of allowing the commissioners to vote on the association request and force those in opposition to appeal it in Circuit Court.

"Someone would have to take them to court and challenge it," Lance said. "The people went through this in good faith to have a road maintenance association."

Knode opposed making changes to the request, saying that those in favor of the association should have to start from the beginning and get new signatures on the petition, which should note that no amendments can be made.

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