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Shepherdstown council favors annexing campus land, dorms

November 12, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Four of five members of the Shepherdstown Town Council Tuesday voted to annex 13 acres and 11 dormitories on Shepherd University's West Campus to protect the town's share of video lottery funds.

Councilman Stuart Wallace cast the single no vote.

The vote represents the first of two legal readings of the annexation ordinance. The second and final reading takes place at a special meeting Tuesday, Mayor Jim Auxer said.

Passage appears imminent with four council members in favor of annexation.

Councilman Thomas Martin made the motion, which was seconded by Councilman Jim Ford. Members Wanda Smith and Lori Robertson cast affirmative votes.

Several residents argued that Shepherd students could be elected to the council and rewrite ordinances that favor student causes -- among them changing restrictive rules governing parking and the number of unrelated persons who can live in a single dwelling.

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The town annexed the university's East Campus about 10 years ago with its 400-plus students. So far, only one student was elected to the council. He served about a year.

According to Auxer, the town's $500,000-a-year share of video lottery funds could be jeopardized without adding the students as residents.

Video lottery funds are doled out to the county's five incorporated towns according to population. Charles Town and Ranson, which have been annexing, will show population increases in the 2010 census. That will mean less money for small towns that don't grow, Auxer said.

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