quote:CHARLES TOWN ? Representatives of the city of Ranson couldn?t contain their frustration after the Jefferson County Commission refused to certify the annexation of a small property they argued was contiguous to existing city boundaries.
?This is indicative of this commission?s attitude toward progressiveness,? Ranson Mayor David Hamill said Thursday.
James Crawford, the attorney representing Ranson, submitted the order for the annexation of a property that he said was contiguous to Tackley Mill North, a development inside the city limits. State law allows municipalities to annex contiguous properties.
?I ask you to perform your ministerial act and acknowledge (the annexation),? Crawford said.
The property is located between current W.Va. 9 and the W.Va. 9 expansion, and Crawford said it was not a so-called pipestem annexation because the property was contiguous to existing city property.
Ranson Director of Community Development Patrick Davenport said the property adjacent to Tackley Mills was not only contiguous to the city, but (a person) could stand in Tackley Mills and hit it with a rock.?
But Commissioner Jim Surkamp said the commission never certified the annexation of Tackley Mill by Ranson and therefore, he could not support the annexation of the three lots.
Hamill said Tackley Mill was a duly annexed part of Ranson, and was reflected as such in county records. He said the property initially drew criticism, but all issues had been addressed, and it had been fully annexed into the city despite the objections of some members of the commission.
?Go back and read the minutes, and you can see where you tried to subvert it,?Hamill said.
James Casimiro, an attorney for the county, expressed concern that Division of Highways property was included in the annexation, and said there was no evidence that they had been made aware of the annexation.
Crawford said the annexation was an attempt to correct for the possible jurisdictional confusion that could occur when Ranson police needed to patrol near Tackley Mill.
Commission President Frances Morgan said the annexation of Division of Highways property brought up a similar issue the county raised with the city of Charles Town on the annexation of Windmill Crossing, which is currently in litigation.
Morgan said it was important for the commission to take a consistent stance regarding municipal annexations.
Commissioner Dale Manuel said if it were possible to separate the three lots from the Division of Highways property, he would support the annexation.
However, the commission did not have a motion to certify the annexation.
Crawford said the county was exceeding its ministerial position in municipal annexations.
?Your role here is a ministerial act,? Crawford said. ?... (the commission is opposing) a sovereign act of the city of Ranson.?
Ranson is not alone among municipalities that have seen annexation requests stymied by the County Commission.
Charles Town?s City Clerk Joe Cosentini said the City Council voted unanimously Monday to hire the Jackson Kelly law firm to bring suit against the commission for its refusal to certify the Windmill Crossing annexation request earlier this month. The property is owned by area developer Triangle LLC, which Davenport said got its name from the triangular shape of the property.
?The developer is going to proceed in the city, as far as we?re concerned,? Davenport said.