Pocahontas Commission Nixes Land Transfer To Septic Business
Marlinton, West Virginia – The controversy over expansion of a septic disposal business in Green Bank is over – at least according to business owner Jacob Meck. During the Pocahontas County Commission meeting on Tuesday, the commission voted to cancel the sale of nine acres to Meck for additional sewage storage areas. Meck, owner of the Outhouse LLC septic pumping business, tells commissioners he will not attempt to buy the land again.
“We wished that it could proceed,” he said. “If it couldn’t proceed smoothly, then we would not request again. So, this time, if the vote is to be rescinded, we will not be back. And, I may add, we will look in other directions for expansion.”
During its previous meeting on March 9, the commission approved the sale of nine acres to Meck, with Commissioners David Fleming and Jamie Walker voting in favor and Commissioner Martin Saffer voting against. The sale would have gone through the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation.
A group of Green Bank residents stridently opposed Meck’s plans to place a 100,000 gallon sewage storage tank on the additional property. The group was further outraged when Meck informed the development corporation, following county commission approval of the land transfer,that he also planned to install six open sewage storage lagoons at the site.
During Tuesday’s meeting, eight Green Bank residents and local pastor Norman Alderman urged the Commission to rescind its decision from two weeks ago allowing the land sale. Alderman told commissioners the sale would be illegal and that he would file a lawsuit against the commission if the sale went through. The pastor insisted that the sale should be made by public auction. Marilyn Norris tells commissioners that international visitors would not be impressed with sewage on Main Street.
“People from all over the world – international people – come to Green Bank,” she said. “You all know that. ‘So, let’s see how America is. Oh look – they put their sewerage right on Main Street in this cute little town.’ I don’t think that represents the people of Pocahontas County or what we’re all about.”
Cheryl McCullough says the county could be fined if it fails to conduct a proper archeological survey of the site.
“I’ve talked to people that have degrees in archeology, history, environmental science and they’re very familiar with this area,” she said. “What we don’t want is – if he were to proceed with this – there are huge fines and there’s a good chance the county could be liable because they knew – they let him put it on there.”
Max Gum tells Walker that economic development cannot be the sole factor in his decision.
“You have no respect for the land that God gave you, or anything else, if that’s the case,” he said. “Keep it clean and green. Sewer and junk is not supposed to be in a town. I can’t see where anybody in their right mind could take and put junk and trash in a town and sewer amongst the people that didn’t even know it was coming.”
Under pressure from the group, Walker relents.
“It’s my opinion, that I think I want to put this on hold, for now, whatever it takes to do it, until I get answers to satisfy me,” he said. (Sounds of applause)
Walker moved that the land sale be cancelled until he obtained answers to questions raised during the meeting. Saffer seconded and the measure passed 2-1. Fleming voted in opposition and said he was “heartbroken” by the decision.
In other business, the commission approved the hiring of Margaret Hall as a full-time deputy county clerk; approved the hiring of poll workers for this year’s election and approved a letter to the State Conservationist, urging streamlining of conservation easement appraisal reviews.