Planning commission clears way for Mister Bee expansion

The area where Mister Bee seeks the abandonment of part of the West Virginia Avenue right of way. The abandonment was approved by the Municipal Planning Commission on Friday and next goes to Parkersburg City Council. (PHoto by Jess Mancini)

PARKERSBURG — The Municipal Planning Commission on Friday approved the abandonment of part of the unimproved right of way for West Virginia Avenue for an expansion project by the West Virginia Potato Chip Co., makers of Mister Bee potato chips.

The company petitioned the city to abandon a 25-foot strip between Poplar and Walnut streets. The motion to approve included the right of way abutting the property owned by the company, a change from the original application that included parcels near Walnut not owned by the city.

Mister Bee, the state’s only potato chip manufacturer, plans to construct a 33-by-21 foot addition for an office and to house the new thermo-washing unit.

Craig Arnold, representing Mister Bee, said the right of way in question is gravel and grass and the company had thought it owned the property. The intention is not to abandon any of the paved portion of the right of way, he said.

Speaking in opposition was Kenneth Benson, who said the paved part of the street will be affected by abandoning 25 feet of a 59-foot right of way.

“This isn’t just gravel and grass,” he said.

The abandonment will not affect the pavement, Rob Tebay, attorney for the planning commission, said.

The project is part of a $5.127 million improvement and renovation at Mister Bee, financed by the company owners with involvement by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program for renewable energy systems, which recently announced the company will receive $250,000 through the program.

The project includes a new commercial warehouse, improvements to existing facilities, a state-of-the-art and energy efficient manufacturing processing.

The commission approved the petition on a 6-1-1 vote with Sean Francisco voting no and Sel Wigal abstaining. The approval was conditioned upon the resolution of any utility issues.

Water and sewer mains from the city are within and near the area, Dominion Energy has gas lines and Monongahela Power has lines in the right of way, Municipal Planner Janney Lockman said

The Parkersburg Utility Board did not recommend approval and Mon Power gave conditional approval. Dominion Energy was in agreement with the project provided existing gas lines would be moved at the expense of the company, Lockman said.

Frontier Communications and the municipal zoning, fire, police and public works departments had no issue and gave approval.

In other business on Friday, the commission received and filed a subdivision of a lot into two at 2801 23rd St. at Congdon Drive and 23rd Street. The applicant was Thomas F. Hughes.


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