W. Va. Town Says No to Small RV Park for Gas Drillers

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April 5, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Brenda Kosem is disappointed she won't get to use her 4-acre lot to house gas drilling workers in Triadelphia, W. Va.

The town council on Wednesday (April 4) unanimously approved an ordinance to prohibit campgrounds, campsites and recreational sites within the community, a move that will halt Kosem's plans to create a campsite on land near the old Scott Lumber building, the Wheeling Intelligencer reported.

Before the second and final reading of the ordinance, Kosem told council members – Joyce Johnston, Neal Carr, Jean Hunter, Cliff Adkins, Tom Allietta and Mayor Kenny Murphy – that she believed providing a campsite for local natural gas drilling workers would benefit the community.

"I have gas drillers in rental properties in town. Have they disrupted anything?" asked Kosem, a Valley Grove resident.

Town Solicitor Patricia Kurelac told Kosem one of the reasons council members did not want to allow such a site is because they believe the type of vehicles used as temporary residences are a potential fire hazard. Kosem disagreed, adding such vehicles would not be sold to the public if they were a fire hazard.

Triadelphia, located east of Wheeling along I-70, for about seven years has had a law on the books forbidding the use of mobile homes in the town. Mobile homes that existed before the ordinance was implemented were grandfathered in, Allietta said.

"I think it's discriminating against a certain class of people," Kosem said after the meeting.

Both Adkins and Allietta later said they did not believe allowing such campsites would benefit the town as a whole.

"We are in no way against gas well people. We have no idea what kind of can of worms a site like that would open," Adkins said.

Allietta said the campground might have financially benefited Kosem, but it would not have helped the town and its residents. But Kosem said many of the gas workers who live in her properties frequent Triadelphia businesses.

"I have tenants that go to Mary's Lunch once a week," she said. "This will help grow the community."

Kurelac noted the council also was concerned about the aesthetic value of the campground.

"This will not deteriorate the property value at all," Kosem said.

Kosem said after the meeting that she still likes Triadelphia and would like to purchase more rental properties there. Had she been allowed, Kosem estimated she would have rented space for about five camping vehicles on her acreage, noting any more might have "overwhelmed" the site.

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