Logan County Circuit Judge Roger Perry ruled in favor of the Town of Man with regard to the Writ of Mandamus it had been served with in regard to the proposed annexation.
The first petitioners included a group of people who live or operate businesses both inside the proposed annexation area or adjacent to the proposed annexation area. The second petition was filed by Keith Gamble, owner of Keith’s Bar and Grille.
The claims by the petitioner state the map of the proposed annexation area presented by the Town of Man includes the communities or areas known as Hensley Heights, Huff Junction, Mallory Bottom straight stretch up to and enclosing the Man K-8. The petition also states the communities of Green Valley located directly across the creek/roadway along Rt. 10S; the community of Mallory Bottom located directly across the roadway from Rt. 10S and the businesses located on the straight stretch directly above Man K-8 are being intentionally left out of the annexation.
The petition contends there is no accurate survey map and the Town of Man has not complied with various aspects of the applicable provisions West Virginia Code, and the court should allow the abutting landowners of Green Valley and Mallory Bottom the opportunity to be included as qualified voters within the annexation election vote so their voice could be heard.
Adrian Hoosier represented the Town of Man and waived the requirement of the petitioners to file a rule to show cause, which Judge Perry said could have been a problem, before he proceeded to give his finding on the issue.
“There are three elements in a mandamus situation. Courts do not easily step in at these times. (First) I find that Mr. Gamble does have standing as a property owner. (Second) As to the legal duty for Man to include specific areas, Man can include or exclude whatever they want, unless a provision affects this. My reading of the case doesn’t really indicate that. (Third) In the absence of another remedy, the Town of Man has an incentive to do this correctly — an election challenge. You don’t proactively go out and monitor typical elections. You have elected officials who are presumably serving in good faith and they are entitled to some deference. The supreme court doesn’t jump into cases of ours haphazardly while the cases are still ongoing. They wait until the cases are finished and then they are reviewed. There is clearly another remedy in this situation. The Town of Man can have the election. They know it is going to to looked at and if they don’t do it right, there will be a challenge. There may be a challenge whether it is done right or not; there is always the possibility of a challenge. I am not going to issue a writ in this case.”
Mr. Hoosier was instructed to prepare an order for Judge Perry’s review in the matter and court was adjourned.
The election for the annexation is tentatively scheduled for December 7, 2013, and Hoosier says proper notice to residents will be forthcoming.
Mr. Gamble says he and his attorney, Steven Wolfe, are reviewing their options and hope to do something else prior to the election.