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Jefferson Co. prosecutor seeks delay on annexations

May 28, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Saying the number of town annexations in Jefferson County is becoming "too wild," Jefferson County's prosecuting attorney said Thursday it is sometimes difficult for police officers to know exactly where town boundaries are.

In some cases, police officers "sort of get together" at the scene of a call and try to determine who has jurisdiction, said Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson.

"That's just not good enough," said Thompson, who also is the county's chief law-enforcement officer.

To address the problem, Thompson suggested that the Jefferson County Commissioners delay action on any further annexation requests until maps clearly defining town boundaries are developed.

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Commission President Al Hooper said he thought Thompson's request was a good idea and agreed to work with Thompson on the issue.

Hooper, however, said he was not sure how much authority the commissioners have to delay annexations.

The City of Charles Town has annexed at least 1,300 acres to the south where the Norborne Glebe and Huntfield housing developments are. Ranson has annexed 3,351 acres in the last several years.

In the past, the commissioners have expressed concerns about towns gobbling up all the prime development land in the county and creating confusing situations by having town boundaries extending into the county.

The annexations occurred following a new state law that makes it easier for cities to annex land.

If the annexation requests include all the proper paperwork when city officials present the proposals to the commissioners, the commissioners say they must approve them.

Earlier this month, the Ranson Town Council approved annexing 375 acres near the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Wiltshire Road.

Developers plan to use the property to build a 1,337 home development which will include a commercial area.

The annexation was turned down by Ranson council members two years ago because it was outside a growth boundary the city had drawn.

"This is too wild. There is nothing to prevent Ranson from even going into Berkeley County," said Thompson.

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