PSD No.2 boundary extension on hold

A public hearing on the proposed Public Service District (PSD) No. 2 to extend the boundaries further into Greenbrier County is on hold for at least a couple of weeks. Questions raised at a hearing Tuesday evening came mostly from Lewisburg officials and representatives of PSD No. 1, PSD No. 2’s counterpart in the eastern end of Greenbrier County.

As reported in the Register-Herald, the goal was to provide public water service to the western end of Greenbrier County beginning from Interstate 64’s Sam Black interchange. The PSD expansion was lauded by county commission President Karen Lobban as both a boost for economic development and a response to requests for residential water service.

She said there is already a proposed industrial park at Sam Black, but the site must have water service before it is developed. “Everything is ready to go there; they just need water,” Lobban said.

PSD No. 2 general manager Kevin Williams said people living in areas from Charmco and Clintonville to Sam Black have requested residential water service. The idea of getting water for the Sam Black area has been “bounced around” at a number of public meetings, said Commissioner Mike McClung.

Tom Oxley, representing Pentree Inc., an engineering firm that is working with PSD No. 2 on the proposed water project, said the immediate plan is to get water to Sam Black, but in the long range, the goal is to serve a much larger area. PSD No. 1 currently encompasses Sam Black, he noted.

The goal is to serve as many customers as possible, he said, estimating 500 to 600 new customers are expected from the project’s expansion spanning an area from Rainelle through Charmco, Hines and McRoss. Williamsburg and Asbury are also contained in the proposed expansion area.

Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester and Lewisburg Department of Public Works director Mark Carver asked why the PSD’s boundary should include Alta and Clintonville, since Sam Black is already in PSD No. 2’s service area.

Oxley said that from an engineering standpoint, establishing the PSD’s ultimate boundary lines now will allow for the best planning for phase 1 – the Sam Black water project – by treating it as one component of a larger overall project.

Steve Hunter, who serves as legal counsel for PSD No. 1, said the problem with the proposal is that “very little notice” had been given prior to Tuesday evening’s public hearing.

Criss Haynes, an engineer who works with both Lewisburg and PSD No. 1, said the public hearing marked the first time PSD No. 1 has had formal contact with the county or PSD No. 2 regarding the plan.

Neither Haynes nor Hunter would give an opinion of the substance of the proposal on behalf of PSD No. 1. Both deferred to an anticipated discussion of this issue by the PSD’s board at its regular meeting, set for 7 a.m. Friday, Apr. 25.

A vote on the expansion of PSD No. 2’s boundaries is expected at the commission’s next regular meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 6. That meeting is being held a week earlier than usual in order to avoid a conflict with primary election day activities in the courthouse on the 13th.

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