KEYSER - After a lengthy discussion about land swaps and city limits, the Keyser City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to prepare a third application for annexation to be presented to the Mineral County Commission.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - After a lengthy discussion about land swaps and city limits, the Keyser City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to prepare a third application for annexation to be presented to the Mineral County Commission.
The property to be annexed would include the east side of U.S. Route 220 from the board of education complex to Southern Drive.
The city officials have tried twice to extend the city’s boundaries in the south by annexing various chunks of land, but the county commissioners - after hearing complaints from some residents and businesses - denied the city’s application both times.
The denials have left a bad taste in city administrator Randy Amtower’s mouth, who said both times the commissioners had initially seemed receptive to the idea but then “voted against it after we spent thousands of dollars” to have the section in question surveyed.
Amtower also spoke out Wednesday against another proposal - a land swap between the city and county, with the city giving the county its parking lot adjacent to the Judicial Annex and the county handing over the former tennis courts on Route 46.
The swap had been proposed by council member Karol Ashenfelter, who is applying for a grant to set up a handicapped accessible walking trail at Mill Meadow and would like to include the property at the top of the mountain.
Ashenfelter has even discussed the issue with the commissioners.
“They’re all for it,” she said Wednesday, to which Amtower replied “of course they’re all for it” because they would be receiving a revenue-generating piece of property in return for a chunk of land that is currently not being used for anything.
The city rents out parking spaces at $20 each and 19 spots are currently rented.
“They have asked me continually for the parking lot and I have said no,” he told Ashenfelter.
After much additional discussion and a failed motion to proceed with the land swap, Ashenfelter made a motion to proceed with the annexation proposal, and Terry Liller seconded it.
The motion passed 5-0.
Once the proposal is made to the county, the commission must hold a public hearing to receive input on the proposal prior to making a decision.