Developer's paving offer deemed insufficient

January 24, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A developer’s offer to contribute $25,000 toward the cost of paving a road that was added to the state road system this fall was deemed insufficient Monday evening by the Berkeley County Planning Commission.

Commissioners, without taking formal action, instructed legal counsel Norwood Bentley III to try to negotiate a better deal from Mt. Carmel Enterprises LLC for paving Mt. Carmel Road off W.Va. 45.  

Bentley has been authorized by the planning commission to file suit against the Martinsburg-based developer, who received approval to build a 14-lot, single-family subdivision more than five years ago, but was only required by the county to gravel the road, officials have said.

“I view the regulations at that time called for a paved road,” Bentley said.

State highway officials in October 2010 added all of Mt. Carmel Road to the state road system, but previously granted 14 entry permits along the road as if they were already part of the system, officials have said.

“This is a real head shaker, you know,” Commission President Donald Fox said.

Part of the developer’s proposal was to pay the $25,000 in $5,000 increments as 35 lots in a proposed second section of the development are sold, according to Bentley. Highway officials have estimated the project would cost about $76,000.

Bentley told commissioners Monday that the developer’s plans for Section B have yet to be reviewed.

“After it’s reviewed, the review may very well suggest the road be paved anyway,” Bentley said.

Mt. Carmel subdivision resident Jay Cool told commissioners Monday that he has spent a lot of money on his home, not expecting to live in “squalor.”

“All we want is what I believe that every other resident in Berkeley County has a right to have,” Cool said.

Cool said he believed the cost of the infrastructure of the development was supposed to be included in the cost of the lots.

Bentley said the developer indicated that the cost of paving the road was not included in the cost of the lots.

In other business, Commissioners welcomed Berkeley County Council member James “Jim” Whitacre to the Planning Commission as a voting member.

Whitacre, who arrived about 55 minutes late and a couple of minutes before Fox adjourned the meeting, said he was attending another meeting.

Whitacre replaced Ronald K. Collins, who was defeated in his bid for re-election last year. County Council member Doug Copenhaver also attended Monday’s meeting.

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