By Jean Braithwaite
KEYSER - After working on the 10-Year Comprehensive Plan for three years, the Mineral County Planning Commission members felt their work on the document was over for now when the multi-page plan was sent to the Mineral County Commission for final approval.
However, as part of the recent meeting of the county planners, the members discovered the 10-Year Plan was sent back to them for a review and clarification that all rules and procedures were followed.
Commissioner Wayne Spiggle, who was present at the planning meeting, said another public meeting for comments on the draft plan through the planning commission was called for by the remaining two commissioners.
He felt the best way to handle the questions involving the plan was to send it to the West Virginia State Attorney General for procedural explanations.
Spiggle commended the planning commission for their “due diligence” in working on the comprehensive plan for the several years.
Saying the planners are not elected officials, but rather volunteers, he added, “The members want to do better for the county.”
Being present at the county commission meeting, planning commission member Jennie Shaffer noted that Commissioners Janice LaRue and Cindy Pyles also “commended
(See PLAN P. 7A)
the planning commission for their three years of work.”
Dave Umling took the view that “We would not have passed it along if we felt it wasn’t correct.”
Questions arose in the July planning meeting when written comments were submitted by representatives of U.S. Wind Force for consideration to be included into the plan.
Part of the written statement included, “Certain changes are needed to insure a better balance between the perceived benefits of central planning and the principals of private property rights as set forth by our founding fathers in the US Constitution.”
The planning commission’s public session for comments was held in June, and Umling wanted to know “if the comments in July from Wind Force were legal to be accepted into the plan.”
Shaffer also wanted to know, “When were the public comments considered to be closed?”
Scott Clay, county planner, stated his understanding was to “receive written comments from those who spoke during the public session” and, because of a shortened time frame, were not able to cover all they wanted to say.
Kolin Jan said, “I have the same understanding about the comments.”
Umling said about the Wind Force written statements, “They are hearsay, and there was no poll taken of Mineral County citizens.”
Burdock said, however, “We are governed by the county commission and they said another public meeting was needed,.
“They have the authority to do that,” he added.
Umling pointed out that, prior to the additional public meeting, “We will document the time when public comments will stop.”
Wanting to wait to hear from the county commission on the matter of the public meeting, Burdock said, “Written instructions are needed from the commission on exactly what to do with the plan.”
Dave Frederick made the suggestion to “get the by-laws straightened out” and then proceed with the public meeting.
Shaffer agreed and stated, “The by-laws are our general guidelines,” and in addition, “We need to have policies on how we operate.”
Members also received a copy of a proposed draft of an Open Governmental Proceeding Act, or Sunshine laws, which will be reviewed over the next month before any action is taken at the next meeting of the county planners.
Commission seeks instructions on Comprehensive Plan
By Jean Braithwaite