Meck’s Green Bank Expansion – Good Or Bad? Depends On Who You Talk To
Marlinton, WV – Booming business or blot on the landscape? Genuine environmental concern or a case of not-in-my-backyard? When it comes to Jacob Meck and his plans to expand his multi-business site at the Green Bank industrial park, the answer to those questions may depend on who you ask.
The Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation will discuss granting Meck’s wish for additional acreage at the Green Bank site when they meet Thursday afternoon at the Rahall Technology and Business center near the Lewisburg airport. If approved, the GVEDC will enter into negotiations for Meck to purchase 9 additional acres of property in the Green Bank industrial park to expand his current businesses. He says he’s paying $50,000.00 for the three acres he currently leases from the GVEDC.
The Pocahontas County Commission approved the transfer of the nine acres to the GVEDC for this purpose at their March 6th meeting. But only after a lengthy discussion and on a split vote of 2 to 1 with Commissioner Martin Saffer opposed. During the meeting, Commission President David Fleming read letters of support for Meck from some of those who live closest to the business, including John and Crystal Irvine, Charlie Sheets and Linda Stewart. All praised the Mecks for being good neighbors.
However, there were also several detractors in attendance who spoke out against the proposed expansion, especially since one of the businesses at the site is sewage hauling and disposal. Here’s Max Gum.
“I just can’t agree with you people expanding something that’s already out of hand, it’s a black mark already there,” says Gum. “Green Bank is the prettiest town in this county as far as I’m concerned; it’s neat, it’s well took care of, it’s painted up, it looks nice. Let him go somewhere else with that. Buy him some land somewhere if it’s that important; get him out of sight, that’s all I’m asking for.”
The land on which Mecks businesses are located is county owned land, and prior to locating there, the land had sat fallow for decades. Commissioner Saffer acknowledged that fact, but asked whether it would be better to auction the land off rather than sell it through the GVEDC.
“Would the Commission be better advised politically and for the satisfaction of the community to put this on the front steps of the courthouse and auction this property,” says Saffer, “because the deed says that it has got to be used for economic and industrial development, period; can’t be used for any other purpose whatsoever.”
Jacob Meck defended his businesses, saying they are in full compliance with WV Dept of Environmental Protection standards, backed up by a letter from Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman of the DEP. Commissioner Fleming read excerpts from the letter, including this summary.
“Both sites operated by Mr. Meck for temporary storage of domestic septage appear to be clean and well maintained,” reads Fleming. “There was no indication that spills or overflows had occurred at any of the storage tank locations.”
Meck also defended his record of creating good paying local jobs with full benefits, saying he has increased his payroll from 5 to 10 in the three years he’s been at the Green Bank location. He says of those 10 positions, only one is held by a fellow family member.
After almost an hour and a half of discussion, the Commissioners passed the motion to transfer the nine acres to the GVEDC. That group will take up the discussion at their meeting Thursday, March 15th at 3pm at the Rahall Technology and Business center in Maxwelton. The meeting is open to the public.