Berkeley County briefs

January 18, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

New VA medical center director confirmed

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An administrator at the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System has been appointed as the director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg, a center spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Ann Brown's appointment was made effective Sunday, according to Barbara B. Corbin. Brown was not available for comment Friday.

Brown is acting deputy network director for VISN 9 and has 14 years of experience with the Veterans Health Administration, Corbin said.

Brown received her master's degree from Trinity University in 1994 and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has served as the associate director for operations at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, the network business office manager and several other senior staff roles, Corbin said.


Brown replaces Pedro Garcia, who has been acting medical center director since April 30, 2007, Corbin said. Fernando Rivera, the previous medical center director, transferred to the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., in April 2007, Corbin said.

Brown's arrival comes less than a month after the medical center was ordered to address three health and safety violations cited by last month in a November inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The hospital has until Thursday to abate two of the violations.

Former County Commissioner appointed to planning commission

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A former Jefferson County commissioner was appointed to the Berkeley County Planning Commission this week.

Gary L. Phalen was appointed to the unexpired term of Gary Poling, who resigned last year. The term expires Dec. 31, 2008.

In a January 2007 interview, Phalen told county commissioners that he served as a Jefferson County Commissioner for six years but currently resided in Berkeley County, where he was born and raised, according to commission meeting minutes from Jan. 18, 2007.

When Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield then asked him about his personal position on zoning, Phalen told the commission that he "would need to read, very carefully, what is being proposed to the public," according to the meeting minutes.

Phalen was nominated Thursday for the vacancy by Commissioner Ronald K. Collins, who represents the county commission on the planning panel. Teufel said he was comfortable appointing Phalen and two other applicants, including former planning commissioner Richard Talbott. Talbott was not reappointed to the planning commission when his term expired in December 2006.

Hesitant to support Phalen's nomination, Stubblefield on Thursday touted Talbott's application for returning to the commission, saying he brought "a lot of energy" the panel and worked hard.

Collins mentioned that Phalen was backed by the Eastern Panhandle Home Builders Association.

Planning Commission named in circuit court petition

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An attorney representing the developer and engineer of a controversial residential project in northern Berkeley County has filed a petition in circuit court challenging a Berkeley County Planning Commission decision to deny plans for the development.

Berkeley Springs attorney Richard G. Gay filed the 25-page petition on behalf of Trinbar LLC, developer of the proposed 74.6-acre subdivision, Waterfall Farm Estates, off Mouth of Opequon Road near Brown Road, according to Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine's office.

Waterfall Farm Estates was proposed to include 103 single-family lots and 154 multi-family units.

Though the county's planning department recommended approval of the project's preliminary site plan because it met all ordinance requirements, a majority of the planning commission denied the proposed development.

Commission legal counsel Norwood Bentley III recommended on Dec. 17, 2007, that the commissioners accept a $100,000 offer by the developer to improve access to the proposed subdivision site, which is limited by a one-way, partially blind, railroad underpass and a narrow bridge.

The legal action asks the court to require the planning commission to approve the preliminary plat and award costs and attorneys fees.

Concerned residents and emergency officials said the development posed safety and health concerns because of the limited access problems.

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