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DesRocher

CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Town Council once again mulled possible annexation in a discussion regarding town growth during its most recent regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 16.

Councilman Ben DesRocher, who has spearheaded annexation in the past, was the one who brought up the subject again, saying that annexation would grow the town by adding more businesses, thus increasing revenue with more business and occupation (B&O) taxes. He noted that the idea has been discussed numerous times during his five years serving on the council, but no action has ever been taken.

DesRocher further added that he was told the inaction in the past was due to an issue with the Logan County Commission, but he met with a commissioner who told him that the issue has never been brought to their attention. DesRocher did not specify with which commissioner he spoke.

“As far as town growth, I believe the more businesses we have in the town, the better,” DesRocher said. “More businesses we have in this town, that’s more B&O that’s coming into town. The bigger the town is, that’s more businesses that can potentially be in town, if you include Phico, or Airport Road, or Caney Branch, or any place, really, around the town and right outside the town. I want to work with you all on moving this forward instead of it just being talked about.”

DesRocher said he would like to see a leader figure in the town be responsible for contacting business leaders and property owners to recruit them into becoming part of town. Town recorder and acting mayor Terilyn Wilson asked DesRocher if he would like to be a part of a possible committee regarding annexation, to which he agreed. Incoming mayor Joel McNeely voiced his support for DesRocher being part of such a committee.

“I’m not expecting to be Charleston or anything like that,” DesRocher said. “We’re one little valley. It’s hard to cram all that right down here, but I truly believe in the potential of the town. I’ve said it to just about everybody who has talked to me about it. I believe Chapmanville is a gold mine waiting to be mined, but it’s going to take the work of all of us.”

Councilman Gary Bledsoe remarked that annexation has always been “on the table” for about 20 years, but that “nobody ever does nothing about it.” He said the biggest area to annex currently for people alone — not business — is Sunset Court, but nobody has ever approached them to ask if they would be interested.

Town attorney Rob Kuenzel said some citizens of that area approached the town years ago about being put on the town’s sewage system, but when town officials at the time suggested annexation in order to gain town sewage and other benefits, they did not have any interest.

“That’s not to say they wouldn’t be interested now, but they didn’t return to us with any interest at that time,” Kuenzel said.

Kuenzel said the easiest way to annex is by minor boundary adjustment — meaning getting adjoining landowners to sign on one by one. Kuenzel said the issue with the county commission DesRocher referred to may have to do with a previous attempt to annex areas that lie to the side of U.S. 119 via minor boundary adjustment.

Several miles of U.S. 119 alone lie within the town’s limits.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.