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Special meeting to be held on eminent domain

By Staff | Nov 14, 2012

A special meeting will be held on Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. in the Commission Room at the Tyler County Courthouse to discuss the Tyler County Development Authority’s plan to acquire a parcel of land from Richard and Naresa Cunningham by means of eminent domain.

Eminent domain is the power of a government body to take private property with or without the owner’s consent for public use in exchange for just compensation. The development authority received consent from the Cunninghams to purchase the property.

The .063 acre of land is wanted in order to construct the Bens Run Industrial Park Access Road which would provide a second entry into the park.

Eric Peters, executive director of the Tyler County Development Authority, said the issues with the current road, “Not all of the available sites within the industrial park are efficiently accessed by the existing road. Constructing side roads from the existing road to access additional acreage would not be efficient land use management, as it would use far too much rare flat land for roads instead of productive business operation. Also, in order to access the southern half of the park from the existing road would require constructing rail crossings over the Tyler County Development Authority’s rail spur within the park. This would be more costly and disruptive than building a separate access road.”

Peters said the Development Authority looked into other procedures to obtain the property but legal issues unrelated to the development authority complicated the purchase of the land required for the road right of way.

The only action deemed legally fit was to exercise eminent domain in concurrence with the Tyler County Commission. In addition, the transfer of the land would not hinder current business operations and would provide better access for the existing business, Peters said.

The funding for the access road, which is provided by the West Virginia Division of Highways, has been in place for a couple of years and the actual design for the road was completed about a year ago. The project will not require any funding from the county.

Thursday’s meeting will allow the public to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have regarding the process.

Peters believes a second access road is a beneficial investment.

“This new road will increase the value of the existing privately held 1.1 acre and facilitate more private investment within the industrial park, generating new employment,” he said.