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Five seek spot in GOP primary for Berkeley Co. Commission

April 26, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The future for Berkeley County will be shaped by how the region's tremendous rate of growth is addressed, according to the six candidates vying for one open seat on the Berkeley County Commission in the upcoming election.

The candidates, five Republicans and one Democrat, are split down the middle on the contentious issue of zoning, with some candidates likening a zoning ordinance to the use of eminent domain.

The five Republicans will face off in the May 9 primary, with the winner competing in November's general election against Sonny Brown, the Democrat. The winner in November will get a six-year term and receive an annual salary of

The candidates are:

REPUBLICAN



William Stubblefield

Age: 66

Address: 291 Carlyle Road, Martinsburg

Occupation: Retired rear admiral at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Top issue: Calling water availability one of the county's top issues, Stubblefield sees a need to balance economic growth with planning that directs growth where infrastructure is adequate to sustain it or can be brought at a reasonable cost.

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Stubblefield said high-density development should be directed to areas supported by public water, with development in other areas determined by the water recharge ability of that area's aquifers.

Stubblefield, who led the advisory committee in charge of revising the county's Comprehensive Plan and currently serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Berkeley County Public Service Water District, said he supports a land-use ordinance, provided it is controlled by the voters so that changes to it can be made over time and if it allows for such provisions as transferable development rights.




Robert Grove

Age: 63

Address: 838 Jenny Wren Drive, Martinsburg

Occupation: Retired industrial/commercial electrical project manager

Top issue: Grove, a former chairman of the county's sewer district, who said he has experience in bringing funding for infrastructure into Berkeley County, called the county's top three issues "growth, growth and growth."

Grove called efforts to limit the county's growth rate pointless and said the county's only option is to accommodate it. Grove said he'd lobby state legislators to see that money for road improvements finds its way to the county.

Grove said he is opposed to adopting a zoning ordinance unless a model is adopted that ensures the rights of property owners.




Larry Faircloth

Age: 57

Address: 1006 Kelly Island Road, Martinsburg

Occupation: Real estate broker

Top issue: Faircloth, who represented Berkeley County in the West Virginia Legislature for 24 years, calls the county one of the state's few economic bright spots. Touting his experience as a legislator, Faircloth said he would work with state highway officials to focus attention on Berkeley County's road improvement needs, and called for an agreement between the county and the city of Martinsburg for ensuring the county's water needs in drought years.

Faircloth said his experience in the legislature equips him with knowledge in developing budgets and understanding the budgetary process as it relates to various entities such as the Board of Education, the county and municipalities.

Faircloth said he supports smaller government, lower taxes and less spending, and warned that the adoption of zoning would enable the county to have more taxing authority under the Local Powers Act.




Ted Morgan

Age: age not disclosed

Address: 59 Lina Lane, Martinsburg

Occupation: Claims representative for Allstate insurance company

Top issue: A former Martinsburg city councilman and present member of the county's parks and recreation board, Morgan said he supports a countywide recycling plan, the reorganization of the Berkeley County Commission to five members and a countywide land-use ordinance.

During a Berkeley County Republican Club gathering last month, Morgan said the county needs to be more proactive in responding to the rate of growth. He calls a zoning ordinance one of the few options available to local officials to help plan and manage the county's needs for infrastructure as a result of development pressures. Morgan was critical of a recent decision by the county commission to delay a referendum on zoning.

Morgan said expanding the commission to five members will help spread the workload around, improve representation and engage more points of view.

"Basically, you have two commissioners that run this county because two is the majority," Morgan said.




Marty Kilmer

Age: 60

Address: 180 Cline Drive, Inwood

Occupation: Retired flight crew member with 167th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard

Top issue: Taxation is the top issue, said Kilmer, a political newcomer. Kilmer said he's become increasingly aware of county residents' concerns over rising property assessments. He said he supports freezing the assessments on properties owned by senior citizens and increasing the amount state's homestead exemption.

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