Meeting Reports

May 15, 2000
CAG Holds Initial Planning Meeting

The Corridor H Community Advisory Group (CAG) held their first organizational meeting May 15 in the Davis City Hall.

The formation and role of the CAG were defined in the provisions of the Settlement Agreement between the Corridor H Alternatives and the West Virginia Division of Highways and other defendants.

The CAG consists of 12 members representing a cross-section of the interests potentially affected by the location of Corridor H in the Davis and Thomas areas. They include: Mayor Debbie Snyder and City Councilman Matt Quattro from the City of Thomas; Mayor Randy Schmiedeknecht and Lester Dempsey from the Town of Davis; Karen Bonner from the Tucker County Planning Commission; Murray Dearborn from the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sam Eichelberger from the Tucker County Development Authority; Thomas DiBacco from the Region VII Planning and Development Council; Vice President Walt J. Ranalli from the Alpine Heritage Preservation, Inc.; Reid Gilbert from Tucker Gateway Initiative; Buzz Durham from Highlands Trail Foundation; and Chuck Nichols from Friends of the 500th.

Michael P. Miano, assistant to the state highway engineer, explained the CAG's role is to expand the opportunities for public involvement in every phase of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Thomas-Davis section, from the initial scoping stages through final selection of a preferred alternative.

"The role of the advisory group includes three specific elements," Miano said. "The group should identify the different interests that could potentially be affected by the location and design of the Thomas-Davis section. They should evaluate solutions that could be used to resolve potential and actual conflicts among the identified interests. And they should identify an alternative that is acceptable and would satisfy most or all parties, if possible."

Nine of the 12 appointees met Monday evening to identify needed resources and to establish guidelines. According to notes taken by Kiena Smith, executive director of the Canaan Valley Institute and facilitator of CAG, the group also discussed the possibility of alternate persons attending a meeting for an original member; nothing was finalized. It was decided that public meeting notices will be submitted to the Parsons Advocate and the agendas will be prepared and, time permitting, will be sent via postal mail five days prior to the meeting, to CAG members and to anyone who requests time on the agenda.

The group has invited Michael Baker Jr., Inc., the engineering consulting firm working on the Corridor H project, to educate the CAG about what has been done on the projects thus far, and what still remains to be completed.

"All who participated in this first meeting were very excited about their role and about being a part of the process," Miano said.

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