Coal tipple seeks injunction to stop annexation

By Cara Bailey | Apr 25, 2007

CHARLESTON - A threat turned into action Wednesday as attorneys for a coal tipple located near Chesapeake and Marmet filed a suit against the Kanawha County Commission seeking an injunction to stop the towns from annexing the tipples.

Attorneys for Kanawha River Terminals and River Point LLC filed the suit Wednesday afternoon less than one week after KRT attorney Christopher Power sent a nine-page list of objections to the county commission threatening to sue if the annexation was approved.

"It's unfortunate," Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said Wednesday afternoon. "We haven't even had the opportunity as the sitting council commission to review the requests."

Carper said the commission has looked at the criticisms raised by KRT and were going to discuss the matter at the commission meeting Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, the injunction is being sought to preserve the existing boundaries of Chesapeake and Marmet.

In January, town leaders for Marmet and Chesapeake asked the commission to allow the facility to be annexed and members of the Kanawha County Planning Commission recently voted 6-3 in favor of the annexation.

The lawsuit says Marmet seeks to annex 12.5 acres next to its eastern boundary, and Chesapeake seeks to annex about 33 acres next to its western boundary. If the annexation is approved, the common boundary line would be W.Va. 61.

Chesapeake Mayor Damron Bradshaw told the Charleston Gazette that the annexation would allow the towns to clean the mess the coal facilities make.

"Just by the coal tipples' being where they are, they're enticing these coal trucks to come through the town," Bradshaw said. "There's as much mud in town as there is coal."

The suit says KRT has operated a coal barge loading facility since 1987 near the town of Marmet. RPT has owned a facility near Chesapeake since April 2006.

According to the lawsuit, KRT does not want to be annexed because the City of Marmet has an ordinance, which was enacted in June 1990, that says the city does not desire to have "any type of coal mining, coal loading, or related coal facilities withing the municipal boundaries of the City of Marmet."

The facility operated by KRT is a coal storage and loading facility, and the suit states if the City of Marmet were to annex the property, the activities taking place on it are those the city does not wish to have.

However, Marmet Mayor Bill Pauley said the city has no plans to shut down the facility if it is annexed.

The suit, filed by Power and attorney Christopher Hamb, seek to have the injunction granted before the commission's meeting Thursday.

The case has been assigned to Judge Louis Bloom.

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