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Subdivision residents air complaints

March 28, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With spring here, someone driving through the residential development of Glenwood Forest may hear two things: birds and ATVs.

Along with the early blooms, one might see garbage.

And while driving along the roads within the wooded development, one is likely to hit at least a few potholes, which are prevalent along the dirt roads.

Some Glenwood Forest residents approached the Berkeley County Commission Thursday morning asking if anything can be done to ease their concerns.

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The residents seemed happy after the concerns were outlined by their spokesperson, Chris Tydings, who is president of the development's homeowners association.

Three members of the state House of Delegates from Berkeley County - Republicans Larry Faircloth, Craig Blair and Walter Duke - also attended the commission meeting. Faircloth represents the district that includes Glenwood Forest.

Glenwood Forest is the southwest area of the county, accessible by W.Va. 45. Around 380 properties are within the development's border, including about 300 homes, Tydings said. He described it as a low- to middle-income neighborhood, with about 20 percent of the residents using their house as a vacation property.

ATVs have helped dispel that dream, he said.

"Most people moved in there to listen to the birds and squirrels," Tydings said. "Now it sounds more like a NASCAR track."

Faircloth outlined the doomed fate of a bill that would have regulated ATVs that was introduced during the most recent legislative session. The bill died one step from the governor's desk.

After the meeting, Tydings said children often ride ATVs along the development's dirt roads, sometimes with others sitting on the handlebars. What little gravel is present on the roads is usually spun off by ATV wheels, he said.

Another problem, he told commissioners, is getting homeowners to pay their annual dues of $94, money that is primarily used to maintain the roads, but also helps pay for gypsy moth spraying.

Faircloth said he will look into introducing a bill that would require homeowners association dues be tacked onto property tax bills, but only in areas where collection is difficult. He asked the county commissioners and their attorney to also examine the issue.

Residents who do not pay their dues cannot use the development's garbage facility, Tydings said. As a result, trash is piling up on some land, and is dragged through the woods by animals, he said.

Commission President Howard Strauss said the county or an officer from the Division of Environmental Protection could issue a citation for that violation.

Some residents are violating the development's covenants, including a rule that businesses are prohibited within the development. A couple of auto repair shops have opened, Tydings said.

Norwood Bentley, legal counsel for the county, suggested that Tydings file one lawsuit, and other violators might get the message. Local judges have consistently upheld covenants in such lawsuits, Bentley said.

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