The Pocahontas County Commission will seek legal advice on the potential uses of a county-owned 30-acre parcel at the Green Bank Industrial Site, but commissioners remain undecided how they want the property to be used. \r\n\r\nDuring the County Commission meeting on February 17, John Fitzgerald, of Cass, spoke to the Commission about the property. Fitzgerald and his business partner, Chris Giannini, previously requested to lease the property for growing hay. A stumbling block is a deed restriction, limiting the use of the land to \u201ceconomic development\u201d purposes. \r\n\r\nThe Board of Education acquired the land in the 1970s for construction of a high school, but later chose a different site for the school. The Board conveyed the property to the Commission for $1, with the condition that the property be used for economic development purposes. \r\n\r\nFitzgerald requested that the Commission work with the Board to remove the deed restriction. \r\n\r\n\u201cI came down tonight to ask the Commission to lift the stipulations on the Green Bank Industrial Park by going to the Pocahontas County Board of Education, which put the stipulations on there,\u201d he said. \u201cThey were agreed upon with the County Commission at that time. They both agreed to put those on there, so I feel that the Commission could approach the Board of Education to have those lifted, and leave the stipulations up to the County Commission in the future.\u201d\r\n\r\nFitzgerald proposed a lease that would allow agricultural use until the Commission locates a more commercial or industrial lessee. The businessman and farmer noted that another industrial site is available in the county.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe've got to be realistic here,\u201d he said. \u201cWe've got the site up at Edray. If anybody wants to come in, there's an industrial park up there that costs the county a lot of money and is not being used at all.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Jamie Walker questioned the propriety of removing the deed restriction. \r\n\r\n\u201cWhen people set things up, I don't think the intent of setting them up is to five years later change them and five years later change them again,\u201d he said. \u201cI don't know what the reasoning was for it, but there is some reason that it was worded this way.\u201d \r\n\r\nWalker said the Commission needs to clarify the definition of \u201ceconomic development.\u201d \r\n\r\n\u201cThe question that I feel is at stake here is still - what is economic development?\u201d he said.\r\n\r\n\u201cTo me, economic development is employees working under you,\u201d Walker added. \r\n\r\nCommissioner David McLaughlin said the county risked losing the property if it allows a use other than economic development.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf we would do that, it would revert back to the Board of Education,\u201d he said. \u201cIt says if it's conveyed to private, non-commercials hands, the real estate will revert immediately to the grantor.\u201d\r\n\r\nFitzgerald said the two parties to the deed can modify the deed clause.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Commission and the Board of Eduction agreed upon these stipulations,\u201d he said. \u201cThey could also go back and lift those, if they both agreed upon it,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nCommission Assistant Sue Helton recommended legal assistance.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe need to get an attorney involved,\u201d she said. \u201cI know we went through this several years ago. My understanding was that it had to go through Circuit Court and had the restrictions removed.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Bill Beard agreed. \r\n\r\n\u201cWe're going to need to discuss this with an attorney to see what we can do with it and if we can do anything,\u201d he said. \r\n\r\nFitzgerald noted that the property has sat vacant for decades and generated no revenue for the county.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think it's time for somebody to either see what we can do about it and, if we can't lift these deed restrictions, can we sell it or what can we do with it?\u201d he said. \r\n\r\nCommissioners took no action but stated their intent to seek legal advice on possible uses of the Green Bank property.\r\n\r\nMike Holstine and Ben Wilfong, representing the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce, requested that one or more commissioners serve on the Chamber's board of directors. \r\n\r\n\u201cWe agreed to formally invite one or many of the county commissioners to sit on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, so that you can hear the direction that the Chamber is thinking of going, to advise the board whether you think the direction is correct or not, and be part of the decision-making process that the Chamber is going through,\u201d said Holstine. \r\n\r\nCommissioner Jamie Walker said the three commissioners already serve on numerous boards, and suggested that they attend Chamber board meetings on a rotating basis.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think we have boards that we're on pretty well divided up fairly equal,\u201d he said. \u201cI would be in favor - unless they're looking for a permanent voting member - of just alternating going,\u201d he said. \r\n\r\nThe Commission followed Walker's suggestion and voted unanimously to have the three commissioners attend Chamber board meetings on an alternating basis as a non-voting member. \r\n\r\nThe Commission considered a request by 911 Director Shawn Dunbrack to transfer $1,000 from a utility line item to an overtime pay line item. \r\n\r\n\u201cIt's always been our policy that we don't do budget revisions for personnel line items,\u201d said Helton. \u201cIf you want to do that, that's fine, but I just wanted to point that out,\u201d she said. \r\n\r\nThe Commission took no action on the budget revision. \r\n\r\nIn other business, the Commission heard an update from Day Report Center Director Tammie Alderman and scheduled budget work sessions at 9 a.m. on March 9, 11 and 13. \r\n\r\nThe next County Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 8:30 a.m. An agenda will be posted on pocahontascountycommission.com.