Martinsburg wins court battle over water and sewer services

December 15, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The West Virginia Supreme Court has upheld the City of Martinsburg's right to provide water and sewer service to the Martin's Landing apartment complex, a city official said.

Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin said the state Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal by the Opequon Service District and the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District to stop Martinsburg from providing services to a 13-acre parcel the city annexed in 1990.

The 200-unit Martin's Landing apartment complex provides the city with tax base and revenues from water and sewer fees, said Baldwin.

The two service districts contended the area was within their service territory and had asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission last year to force Martinsburg to stop providing the services.


The Public Service Commission, however, sided with Martinsburg, leading the service districts to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Baldwin said the court decision puts to rest an issue that was a concern to developers who feared becoming entangled in future legal battles over annexation.

The decision allows the city to provide water and sewer services to areas that are not being served by a public service district at the time of their annexation, he added.

"We can put this issue to rest," said Baldwin. "It should now be a simpler process."

Phil Melick, the attorney who represented the city in the case, said the court ruling will impact development in other parts of West Virginia.

"Developers of unserved areas will be able to get services from cities," Melick said. "This clears up an important issue for annexations."

Representatives for the Opequon Service District and the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District could not be reached for comment.

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