Pocahontas County Commissioners Axe the Snowshoe RAD

The Pocahontas County Commissioners came to their Tuesday evening regular meeting determined to make a final decision one way or the other on the latest Resort Area District (RAD) petition for Snowshoe. Commission President Bill Beard explained this shortly after announcing the RAD issue was next on the meeting agenda.

“We need to get to the point of voting one way or another before the night is over” Beard said. “As far as going into a big long discussion tonight, I don’t think it’s going to benefit anybody but since these Hear callers are signed up, if you can voice your opinion as quick as possible so we can move on.”

Several citizens did speak out in opposition to the RAD. First was Bill McHenry, a home owner in Snowshoe. When Beard asked him if he objected to the RAD’s service fee, McHenry made it clear that it is the assessment that he objects to, not the service Fee
“I don’t care (about the service fee), let them take 6% off the top and spend it how they want to” said McHenry. “Don’t assess my property and give the homeowners the boat up there. Who’s got the dollars invested up there? It is guys like me…Holly and I have worked hard. Our condo that we paid $200,000 for, that we sold our rental properties for, my condo is worth half or what it is worth now because they are taking 12million bucks off the top of that mountain every year.”

McHenry, who served his Country in Beirut, Vietnam and Desert Storm (First Iraq War), is very passionate in his opposition to the RAD.

“I worked hard for this, this is MY home, this is MY territory, it is not THEIRS” McHenry exclaimed. “Can it be fixed? Yea, I gave you a brief and said ‘here’s how we can fix it’. …And I’m angry because what I worked hard to give my children is going away. And I appreciate you’re listening to me.”

Frank DeBerry of Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Inc. offered some testimony in favor of the RAD. He talked about the checks and balances in place to make it difficult to actually impose the special assessment.

After a lengthy closed (executive) session, the Commissioners returned and immediately Commissioner David McLaughlin made a motion to reject the RAD Petition.

There was some discussion. Commission President Beard said he did not believe the RAD was in the best interest of Snowshoe or the County.
Commissioner Walker also made a comment.

“I feel the service fee at 2% or whatever the percentage may be would be a benefit to the County, I think it would be a benefit to Snowshoe” said Walker. “For the last 4 ½ years (I) watched the property values go down and watched the tax base go down. Things is not getting better up there, they are continuously getting worse and we need change of some form. However, with a 5% assessment, I am strongly against that because I think it would make it go down even farther., but the service fee I am 100% in favor of. I would have liked to have been able to work that out but we came to an agreement not to.”

The Commissioners passed the motion to reject the RAD Petition on a 2 to 1 vote, with Commissioner Jamie Walker being the only vote in favor of the petition.

In other actions:
The Commissioners approved a one year contract for Grazia Apolinares to run the County’s Water Resources Task Force.

Just about every towing company in the County showed up to help the Commissioners amend the proposed towing ordinance to allow the fire department as well as police to call for emergency tows. After being so amended, the ordinance will come up for a first reading at the next meeting.

They approved a 1 year maintenance contract with GeoWeb LLC regarding the 9121 mapping software.

They appointed Mike O’Brien, the 911 director, for a 3 year term to be an Ex Officio member of the 911 Advisory Board.

Story By

Megan Moriarty

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