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Wood County Commission grants video lottery variance

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission granted a variance for a property owner outside Williamstown to operate a video lottery establishment.

In a 2-1 vote, the commission granted the variance to Hi-Lad Inc. of Charleston for property along Waverly Road with Commissioners Jimmy Colombo and Robert Tebay voting in favor and Commission President Blair Couch voting against.

The property is designated “Garden Grille, Waverly Road, Map 70, Parcel D3.”

Attorney George J. Cosenza, representing Hi-Lad President Greg Hicks, appeared before the commission to discuss the matter. Cosenza said Hicks has been a licensed video lottery operator for years with operations in Wood County and across the state.

Hicks had a location in a Charleston area hotel, the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Cross Lanes, that was required to close when the hotel was sold. He got permission to put the machines he had into storage to be placed in another location upon approval.

“The property is out on Waverly Road and it is a little bit out of the way,” Cosenza said. “Research seem to indicate that video lottery properties that are near borders do very well.

“(Hicks) expects this property will do well.”

Hicks is planning to build a facility on the property and is expected to hire six to eight people to run and maintain the facility, Cosenza said.

“These facilities generate a significant amount of money,” he said, adding they have provided state tax revenue which has benefited the state.

There is already a billboard on the property and Cosenza said it would used to advertised the business. There is a home within 1,000-feet of the site which is why they are asking for the variance.

Commissioners asked if the local homeowner/resident had been consulted on their thoughts about having this establishment put in. Wood County Compliance Officer Sarah Robinson said the property is a rental property owned locally by Silverheels Property Management Company. They were informed of the hearing and no one appeared to address the matter.

Couch said he has voted against these variances, because he does not believe more of these machines should be brought into the area as they have caused problems for some local residents.

In other business, the clerk with the Wood County Fire Board who works out of the Wood County Courthouse was supposed to appear before the commission to discuss some of the issues she is facing, but had to cancel due to the weather.

Officials said messages left with her office are not being addressed or returned. Officials said other county offices are being called and told the calls are not being addressed. Officials wanted the opportunity to talk. The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date.

Richard Hayhurst has also reached out to the commission to offer his services to work to collect a number of delinquent fire fees. The commission is forwarding that to the Wood County Fire Board for consideration.

Also, there was a question about the most recent fire fee bills with a number that apparently did not take disability exemptions into consideration. Officials said those are being reworked and will be sent back out soon.

The commission appointed Mike Voshel and Dave Lawson to the Wood County Fire Board.

The commission reappointed Jill Parsons and Dave Hines to the Mid-Ohio Valley Airport Authority.

The commission reappointed Cynthia Ruble to the Wood County Historic Landmarks Commission.

The commission reappointed Terry Moore and Dave Hines to the Wood County Airport Authority.

The commission appointed Paul Jordan, Tom Joyce, Joe Campbell and Buddy Malone to the Wood County Development Authority.

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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