Commission addresses short, but interesting agenda

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission addressed a brief, but diverse slate of issues at Tuesday morning’s meeting.

Commissioners approved a suggestion by Cassie Lawson of the Region 4 Planning and Development to allow that office to submit a grant application on behalf of Pocahontas County.

Lawson addressed council via telephone conference call and explained that there is a federal Community Development Block Grant for up to $75,000 available for planning and research for improving broadband service, which would benefit Pocahontas County. The Region 4 Planning and Development Council will make the grant request, but the grant funding, if approved, would come directly to the county.

Brenda Walters, owner of the Little Levels Depot in Hillsboro, came before the commission to ask for clarification regarding the necessary steps in mounting a petition for businesses outside of municipalities to be allowed to sell wine and hard ciders. Walters was joined by Parween Mascari, owner of the West Virginia Market in Snowshoe.

Walters and Mascari cited the benefit to both tourism and independent business owners in the county as their reasons for being interested in making a change in county regulations.

Counsel Bob Martin explained the current law and what would constitute a viable petition to put a referendum to a vote.
Greenbrier District Ranger, Jack Tribble gave a detailed update of recent activities in the Monongahela National Forest, including a review of eight projects which involve timber sales, wildlife habitat creation and grazing allotments in the national forest.

Among the projects are restoration of spruce habitat through timber sales, working with The Nature Conservancy; fish habitat restoration on East Fork and West Fork working with Trout Unlimited; prescribed fire and early successional habitat work with Ruffed Grouse Society and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources; planning for wildlife habitat creations through timber sales and watershed restoration; a red pine sale that is now underway, and plans to increase the volume of timber sold per year.

In other business, the commission approved a settlement between the county and William P. Stump and his company, Mountain Resort Realty, LLC. The settlement agreement will convey Unit 107B at Summit Condominium (purchased in 2017 for $75,000) to the county in exchange for a Hotel Motel Tax bill of $71,000.

The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be Tuesday, October 16, at 5:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

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