Circuit Court Rejects City of Ranson Rezoning to Heavy Industry

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.—On May 5, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge David Hammer agreed with the claim in Jefferson County Vision’s (JCV) lawsuit: the City of Ranson failed to provide adequate public notice when it changed its zoning to permit heavy industrial uses at Jefferson Orchard. 

Within a week of the announcement of the secret Rockwool deal in 2017, Ranson rapidly moved to change the zoning at Jefferson Orchard to allow heavy industrial use and block almost all other uses of the property. Ranson denied its citizens the applicable public hearing notice, undermining public participation. The Court’s ruling emphasized the distinct statutes regarding zoning ordinances as directed by the WV State Code and notes that compliance is not at the unilateral discretion of a municipality.

“For these reasons, the Court denies [Ranson’s] motion based on the pleadings and briefs, it appears the Industrial District Ordinance was enacted without the required notice under W.Va & 8A-7-8 being provided.” Ranson misused existing “sustainable community” smart zoning to allow heavy industry when they rezoned for Rockwool, and they did it without proper notice.

Jefferson County Vision Board Member Catherine Jozwik commented, “Now the Court agrees that Jefferson Orchards was not lawfully rezoned for heavy industry and that Ranson does not have authority to exempt itself from State law requirements. We are grateful for the court’s careful consideration of the issues in this case.” 

The Court has ordered the City of Ranson to advise, by July 3, 2020, as to its intent to address “the now failed amendments in their procedures to attempt the Industrial District Ordinance.” 

JCV believes Ranson officials need to step back and pull the plug on their disastrous plan to industrialize the heart of Jefferson County. This project is clearly unwanted and it is time to restore the Ranson Renewed vision for Jefferson Orchard.