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Hearing on stop work order at Races & Slots scheduled

February 07, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Construction has been stopped on an expansion of the Charles Town Races & Slots and the Jefferson County Commission has called a special meeting Tuesday morning to deal with the issue, two commissioners said Thursday night.

Track President Jim Buchanan, track attorney Peter Chakmakian and other track officials appeared before the commissioners to talk about the issue during their meeting Thursday night, said Commissioners Jane Tabb and Greg Corliss.

The construction halt is the result of a "stop work order" that has been given to the track, Corliss and Tabb said.

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It appears the stop work order may be related to whether the track had a permit for a second phase of construction at its facility, Corliss said.

A lot of changes in personnel have taken place in Jefferson County's Planning, Zoning and Engineering Department - the agency that issued the order - and it is possible there has been a misunderstanding in the department about the track's approvals for the project, Corliss said.

Tabb declined to say why the stop work order was issued.

"I think that's part of the debate, whether it was a valid reason," Tabb said.

Attempts to reach Buchanan Thursday night were unsuccessful.

The commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the matter. Corliss said there is a question about whether the commissioners have the authority to intervene in the issue.

The commissioners may have Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson assist them in the matter, Corliss said.

The track is in the midst of a $54 million expansion that includes new slot machine areas, a new lounge, food court, parking garage and other facilities.

There are also plans to build a 257-room motel on the property.

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