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City of Ranson just got bigger

December 31, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - A 506-acre annexation to the city of Ranson was approved by the Jefferson County Commission Thursday, but not before one commissioner tried to delay action on the expansion.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said he had concerns about the annexation, including that the annexation was actually about 20 acres smaller.

Corliss said a description of the annexation in the Bardane area should be correct because a lot is at stake when town boundaries change.

In particular, Corliss was referring to how annexations affect voting precincts and how law enforcement agencies respond to different areas of the county.

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Although other county officials have said county government has little say in city annexations, Corliss complained Thursday that the process is flawed.

"We shouldn't have to accept descriptions that aren't correct," Corliss said after the meeting.

Corliss made a motion to delay action on the annexation until next week to give the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the Jefferson County Assessor's Office time to review it.

Corliss' motion failed because of a split vote. The annexation then passed with Commissioners James G. Knode, Jane Tabb and Rusty Morgan voting yes and Corliss voting no.

Ranson city officials, who attended the meeting, said they would look into the issues raised by Corliss.

"If there are inaccuracies, we will certainly work those out," said attorney Jim Crawford, who was representing Ranson.

Tabb said she did not believe the annexation should be delayed, saying Ranson officials were exercising their rights to expand.

The 507 acres, known as 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 will also run past Jefferson Orchards.

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

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.

The land will also 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.

Ranson has more than tripled in size in recent years due to annexations of land, and some county officials have expressed concerns about towns gobbling up all the prime development land in the county and creating confusing situations by having town boundaries extending different ways out into the county.

Ranson officials have said the annexations are important to insure them economic vitality.

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