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Nuisance law discussed

May 06, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Racetracks joined the list of potential "nuisances" under a planned new county law discussed at the Berkeley County Commission meeting Thursday.

The West Virginia Legislature passed a law this year empowering counties to create nuisance laws under which people can be prosecuted. Thursday evening, the County Commission asked members of the public for examples of things they consider to be a nuisance.

Someone in the crowd said "a racetrack."

The comment followed a presentation earlier in the meeting by state Sen. Herb Snyder on a proposed auto racetrack off Interstate 81 near Inwood, W.Va.

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Of six people who suggested items for inclusion in a nuisance law, four cited a racetrack.

Other items included barking dogs; burned, abandoned and dilapidated houses and mobile homes; all-terrain vehicles; motorbikes; and loud music.

"I have a neighbor that has nine dogs ... sometimes 12. She tells us she is rescuing them by chaining them on a six-foot chain in her yard," Glenwood Forest resident Barry Chlypavka said.

"Cars go by playing loud music and it actually vibrates my house," Inwood resident Edgar Mason said. "Concerts, racetrack, monster trucks ... let's get on with it and try to get some peace and quiet in Berkeley County."

Commission President Howard Strauss said the commission plans to research nuisance laws in other states and jurisdictions before establishing a local law.

The county's attorney, Norwood Bentley, said once the commission has gathered public input and completed its research, appropriate legal terminology will be drafted and the law will be written.

"It should not be an extensive amount of time" before the law is in effect, Bentley said.

He said nuisance laws are among the most difficult to write.

Strauss said the commission will accept written comments, which can be dropped off or mailed to the Berkeley County Commission at 126 W. King Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401.

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