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507-acre request for annexation OK'd in Ranson

December 22, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - Ranson City Council members gave final approval Tuesday night to a request to annex 507 acres in the Bardane, W.Va., area into the city and Mayor David Hamill urged city officials to get the annexation plan to county officials quickly for consideration.

The Jefferson County Commission must sign off on the annexation before it can go into effect.

In the past, the commissioners have said they have little recourse other than to approve annexations if the required paperwork for them is in order.

The 507 acres, known as the Jefferson Orchards property, will be developed into primarily commercial, retail, industrial and office space uses, according to a plan filed with Ranson City Hall. The land also gives Ranson the opportunity to create a large commercial, business and industrial park within its limits, the plan said.

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The land also will have some residential development and could be a future site for Ranson City Hall, according to a plan for the development filed in Ranson City Hall.

As Ranson grows, it may need a new location for city government that can better accommodate the public, the plan said.

The Jefferson Orchards property is across from the proposed Tackley Mills and Blackford Farm residential development at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Wiltshire Road. The new four-lane W.Va. 9 also will run past Jefferson Orchards.

The Tackley Mills project will have about 1,370 homes and city officials said the two projects should complement each other.

As part of the Jefferson Orchards annexation, the developers must agree to a number of conditions, including actively pursuing construction of a commuter rail station on the property, working with the Jefferson County Board of Education about possibly setting aside land for a new school and providing extra landscaping on the property, Ranson City Manager David Mills said after Tuesday's meeting.

Although Jefferson Orchards is outside a growth boundary that Ranson drew for itself, several city officials supported the annexation request because of its tax revenue possibilities, among other benefits, Mills has said.

Mills said Tuesday that land around the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Wiltshire Road is more attractive for business growth than downtown Ranson. One reason the Wiltshire Road area is more attractive to business is because of the new four-lane W.Va. 9.

"We have to have a portal for businesses to go," Mills said.

David Ralston, one of the owners of the Jefferson Orchards property, said access to the development will be reached from the current W.Va. 9. Traffic will be carried to the development by a 28-foot-wide overpass that will cross over the four-lane W.Va. 9, Ralston said after Tuesday's meeting.

Ralston said the state Division of Highways awarded a contract Tuesday for more than $10 million to a firm to build the new four-lane W.Va. 9 past the Jefferson Orchard development.

Work on the overpass is expected to start in about a month, Ralston said.

Ralston said construction on the Jefferson Orchards development will not start until the overpass is completed.

Ranson City Council members passed the Jefferson Orchards annexation request following a public hearing on the proposal.

No one spoke during the public hearing.

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