Martin briefs commission on land transfer and plans

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission made quick work of its meeting Tuesday morning.

Commission Attorney Bob Martin gave the commission an update regarding the Green Bank Industrial Park property.

“The Board of Education met yesterday, at one o’clock, down at the Hillsboro Elementary School,” Martin said, “and on their agenda was the Slaven property – also known as the Green Bank property. They have agreed to accept the property back from the county.

“We’re ready to take your action on that to transfer the property back to the Board of Education.”

Despite the BOE’s acceptance of the land transfer, the commission was unable to sign it during Tuesday’s meeting. The motion made at the September 15 meeting only allowed for discussion of the proposal.

Martin also reported to the commission on his attendance of the Mountain State Land Use Academy.

“I am really, really glad I went,” he began. “We are all very aware of the reticence and opposition there would be in Pocahontas County to zoning throughout the county. What I found is, and I think this is vitally important to the county and the citizens of the county, is that every federal grant, and almost all state grants, ask the question – do you have a comprehensive plan?”

According to Martin, Pocahontas County does not have a comprehensive plan, and in order to receive federal money or state grants, a comprehensive plan is required.

“It’s just something we have to have,” Martin explained. “The big question is, can you have a comprehensive plan without zoning? The simple answer is ‘yes.’ We can have a comprehensive plan for the county. We can do it without a zoning aspect to it. We can do it with a land use aspect to it.

“Basically, a land use aspect is – south of Hillsboro, there are those two big pieces of property on either side of the road. That’s farming property. You just designate it farming property. [Land use aspects] are not a binding classification.”

“So, it’s not something you can or can’t do with your property?” Commissioner David McLaughlin asked.

“Exactly,” Martin answered. “It’s just a plan. It’s what you would like to see. It doesn’t have restrictions. It doesn’t stop anybody.”

In addition to the grant aspect of a comprehensive plan, Martin was struck by the impact a comprehensive plan would have on the county’s flood issues.

“With regard to flood issues, and that is a big issue in our county, having a comprehensive plan can reduce people’s flood insurance by ten percent off the top,” he explained. “If we had that, if we have a comprehensive plan, if we have that aspect of just having it in place and we report that to FEMA, everybody in the county then gets a ten percent reduction on their premiums on their flood insurance. That right there is worth it, in my opinion, for us doing something for the citizens of Pocahontas County.

“We’re going to actually save them cash dollars out of their pocket by doing something that’s not going to cost us anything, that’s not going to involve zoning, it’s going to make us eligible for federal and state grants – which we are not eligible for now – and I think it’s really something the commission ought to consider. We ought to invite Professor Jesse Richardson and his staff down, and they’ll meet with us, they’ll walk us through it, I would like them to make the presentation to the commission, and I really think it’s something the commission ought to do.”

The commission instructed Martin to contact Professor Richardson to set up a formal presentation.

In other news:

  • Courthouse custodian Mike Cain appeared before the commission concerning the courthouse’s security and the maintenance and inspection of its alarm systems. The commission instructed Cain and 911 Director Mike O’Brien to obtain a quote for an inspection from Simplex and report back.
  • Region IV Executive Director John Tuttle appeared before the commission with updates on various projects in the county.

The next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 20, at 5:30 p.m.

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