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Zoning a hot topic in Berkeley Co. Commission race

October 24, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Commission candidates Ryan B. Frankenberry and Bill Stubblefield offer voters a distinct choice in the Nov. 7 general election, aside from their respective political party affiliations.

Frankenberry, 28, of 21 Cooper Way, Gerrardstown, W.Va., Valley Magisterial District, believes zoning would not be a "useful tool" for the county's problems. The Democratic party's nominee is opposed to adopting the land-use regulations.

The Republican nominee, Stubblefield, 66, of 291 Carlyle Road, Martinsburg, Tuscarora Magisterial District, is in favor of zoning and describes it as "smart growth."

Both commission candidates recently voiced strong support for the county's Farmland Protection program.

"I would like to see more priority placed on farms in operation right now," said Frankenberry, who is self-employed.

Stubblefield said he had not examined the farmland protection program in enough detail to say whether it should be modified or revised, but he did say the conservation easements made possible through the initiative were important to the county.

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"I think it's a very important and very powerful tool," said Stubblefield, who is retired.

Frankenberry and Stubblefield also agreed that more needs to be done to retain and increase the number of Sheriff's Department law enforcement officers.

"It comes down to having more staff," Stubblefield said. "I believe there is sufficient money in the county" for adding more deputies.

Frankenberry stopped short of making a commitment to add deputies until after looking at the budgetary process, but also believed money was available.

"The men and women we have are on the fence right now," Frankenberry said. "They stay because they have either grown up in Berkeley County or enjoy living here and want to stay."

When given an opportunity to emphasize a particular issue of their own choosing, Frankenberry said if elected, he would bring "an energy on the commission that (voters) haven't seen in years."

He also said he would push for the creation of a standing technology committee, for both internal government affairs and the private sector, to expand upon the "good job" that the commission has done already.

Frankenberry said technology, particularly through the Internet or video broadcasting, could also be put in place to help all of the county boards and committees appointed by the commission to be more accessible to county residents.

Stubblefield said he would advocate for more support of parks and recreation, back state lawmakers' attempts to assist older residents with property tax relief measures and do whatever possible to recruit companies to the county that pay higher salaries.

"We've got to promote our economy by finding more well-paying jobs," Stubblefield said.

If elected, Stubblefield said he would bring a vast amount of management experience to the commission.

The pair are running for the seat being vacated by Howard L. Strauss, who is not seeking re-election. The position pays $36,960 a year.

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