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Elkins planning to annex highways

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

ELKINS -- City officials say a plan to annex parts of Corridor H and U.S. routes 33 and 219 make good economic sense for the city and any potential future homeowners and business owners.

Elkins Mayor Jimmy Hammond said Wednesday council members are discussing the possibility of annexing the roadways to bring them into the city limits. That way, anyone who builds homes or businesses on property that touches the annexed land has the opportunity to request annexation to receive city services.

Hammond said misconceptions about the plan have worried some property owners in and around Elkins.

"We're not actually annexing any land, only the road," he said. "It's been explained that the annexation would form a triangle on both sides of Elkins along Route 33 and up (Route) 219, but we're not wanting to take in any property."

Hammond said council members had hoped to have a first reading of the proposed ordinance required to annex the roads by their next council meeting, set for Nov. 2. Delays in getting an engineering study completed on the roads probably will push back reading the ordinance until the Nov. 16 meeting, Hammond said.

"After that, the county commission has to have a public hearing on it," Hammond said. "It shouldn't be a problem because the law says the vast majority of the property owners must support the annexation, and in this case there is only one property owner involved, the (state Division of Highways)."

Hammond said the proposal is simple and fairly standard and that many cities have annexed state roads into their boundaries.

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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