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Wood County Commission hears update on troublesome properties

Wood County Commissioner Jimmy Colombo, left, speaks during Thursday’s commission meeting in the Boreman Room of the Judge Black Annex as Commission President Blair Couch listens. Behind them is a photo from one of two Williamstown Pike properties where owners have been asked to removed unregistered cars before the end of the year. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Commissioners on Thursday received an update on two Williamstown Pike properties where officials say are being operated as unpermitted salvage yards.

County Compliance Officer Sarah Robinson provided commissioners with copies of cease-and-desist letters served June 8 to the owners of lots at 2479 and 2541 Williamstown Pike. The letters say there are approximately 56 unlicensed and unregistered vehicles in various states of disrepair on the properties and instructs them to remove at least 25 of them within 90 days. All the vehicles are to be gone within 180 days.

That puts the deadlines at Sept. 7 and Dec. 15, Robinson said. If the owners haven’t complied by the latter date, the parcels will be submitted to the county’s Planning Commission for consideration as nuisance properties. If that declaration is made, the situation will be turned over to the Wood County Prosecutor.

Prosecutor Pat Lefebure said his office could then seek an injunction from Wood County or file a criminal complaint in Magistrate Court.

“When can we tow them off?” Commission President Blair Couch said.

“Once the Circuit Court would approve” the injunction, Lefebure said.

Robinson said she checked the properties Thursday morning, prior to the meeting, and it appeared there were now more than 60 cars between them.

Commissioners asked for an update because they continue to receive complaints about the condition of the properties.

“We still have citizens in that area that are not happy with the situation,” Robinson said.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo said he understands it’s frustrating but the county must ensure the property owners receive due process.

Property owners Earl A. Nuckles Jr. and Candice M. Decker could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In other business, County Administrator Marty Seufer said Charlotte Lane, the chairwoman of the West Virginia Public Service Commission will appear before commissioners Monday. The commission requested a meeting with a PSC representative in light of a pending rate increase request from the Lubeck Public Service District.

A 2015 change in state law gave rate oversight of the nine largest public service districts in West Virginia to county officials. Two of those — Lubeck and Claywood Park — are in Wood County.

Laird Ruble, with Mid-Ohio Valley Beekeepers Association, asked commissioners if the group could meet at Veterans Park. He said the organization usually draws a sizable crowd and has been having trouble finding venues due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Couch said rules imposed by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department match those set by the state, and the current limit on gatherings is 25. He suggested Ruble work with Seufer to set up a meeting at the park.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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