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Morgan County Commission briefs

August 23, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

Toll road on U.S. 522 is off the table

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The U.S. 522 toll road in Morgan County that was proposed by the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) no longer is being pursued.

"As far as we are concerned, it is not a project we will do," said Marvin G. Murphy, the state highway engineer who met Friday with the Morgan County Commission.

Murphy said the U.S. 522 project is "out of the picture because of negative support. We cannot go forward without the support of the community."

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Commission President Glen R. Stotler told Murphy that it is not in the best interest of the county and its citizens that any part of U.S. 522 or any new construction of it be turned into a toll road, including a bypass around Berkeley Springs.

Murphy said the state does not have enough funding for road repairs, and very little money is available from the federal government.

Murphy said the DOH had been exploring the feasibility of the toll road based on a traffic and revenue study, and the traffic numbers on U.S. 522 indicated it could be tolled based on 2005 data. The study estimated the cost to be $189 million and would be paid for in 30 years.

He said the "realistic" cost for the 19 miles of road was an estimated $400 million.

A petition with more than 3,000 signatures opposing the toll road was sent to DOH Commissioner Paul Maddox, resident Jim Dupont said. He gave a petition with about 700 signatures to Murphy to take back to Charleston, W.Va.

The commission adopted a resolution Friday afternoon opposing toll roads.

"We still need to work on U.S. 522 for the bypass," Stotler said.

The two-lane U.S. 522 in Morgan County runs from the Virginia state line to the Maryland state line.

Courthouse groundbreaking date set

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, at noon for the construction of the new Morgan County Courthouse.

At Friday's Morgan County Commission meeting, commission President Glen R. Stotler said U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin were invited to attend, along with West Virginia senators and delegates.

The three-story, 45,000 square-foot-courthouse will be built at the corner of Fairfax and North Washington streets and will take about 18 months to complete.

The old courthouse was destroyed by fire in August 2006.

Subdivision regulation changes proposed

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A public hearing by the Morgan County Commission for new subdivision regulations will be held Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the commission meeting trailer.

County Planner Alma Gorse told the commission Friday that the county Planning Commission approved the subdivision regulations Aug. 11.

Gorse suggested the subdivision exemptions be legally reviewed before the public hearing and adoption by the Morgan County Commission. Commission President Glen R. Stotler said arrangements will be made to meet with the county attorney, Richard Gay, on Sept. 19.

Stotler also wants a better definition in the regulations for the amount of green space in cluster developments.

"We need written parameters to make sure green space in the clusters is maintained," he said.

Gorse said the proposed subdivision regulation changes can be reviewed on the county's Web site.

Commission is opposed to PATH

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A resolution opposing the construction of a new high-voltage transmission line through Morgan County was adopted Friday by the Morgan County Commission.

The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATh) is proposed by American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy, and a public meeting was held last week showing four new possible routes.

More than 250 people attended the meeting, and opposition was voiced by the majority.

Commission President Glen R. Stotler said Friday there would be no direct benefit for the lines to come through Morgan County, and a "new transmission line could have a detrimental impact."

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