Morgan County Commissioner Bob Ford believes that a Tractor Supply store will go in on property about four miles south of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
Ford appeared on the new interview show — This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber.
Has Tractor Supply purchased the land?
“I can’t swear to that,” Ford said. “I’ve heard they have. I don’t know where they are at at the Planning Commission. I understand they have expressed an interest in going across from Greengate Road there.”
You think it’s going to happen?
“Yes,” Ford said. “I believe it will.”
And Ford said that he’s been in touch with the site selector from Walmart.
“I expressed to him that I had some acreage that I thought he ought to take a look at,” Ford said. “I’m a firm believer that Walmart will end up either here or in Hancock. I”ve looked at the economic impact that it will have on people locally. I don’t feel the economic impact is going to be any different if the Walmart is here or in Hancock. We are ripe for the pickin. We’ve got the numbers in residency requirements for that. We meet that challenge. It’s only a matter of time when Walmart decides to come. If the choice is either here or across the river, I’d rather it be here because I’d rather us have that tax base than Washington County. I’d rather we get the jobs instead of Washington County.”
When Ford says — I have some acreage — what acreage is he talking about?
“I’d rather not discuss that,” Ford said.
Is it your property?
“No,” Ford said. “There’s a piece of property where Walmart could go. And their site selector looked at it and he thought the same way. But there is a process you go through. And it’s a lengthy process. It takes over three years to site a Walmart.”
How close is it?
“We’re not anywhere close,” Ford said. “I’ll probably be re-elected before something happens.”
And Ford is going to run again in 2018?
“I won’t say I won’t,” Ford said. “The door is open.”
Ford says Commissioner Brad Close keeps saying he’s not going to run again in 2016.
Who will run to take his place?
“I haven’t heard one candidate step up,” Ford said. “I haven’t heard anything.”
When asked why he said that those who oppose the siting of the proposed Dollar General store in a residential neighborhood at the south end of Morgan County should “go back to where they came from,” Ford said — “I’m kinda glad you asked that.”
“And don’t misunderstand me, I’m no Donald Trump,” Ford said. “I like to think I might be out of that mold a little bit. I have a habit of saying what I think sometimes. In reality, do I think for a moment all of these people are going to pack up and move because of the Dollar General store? No.”
“You have to understand where Bob Ford comes from. I’m a little bit of a libertarian. I’m against zoning. I’m pro business. People fail to realize that bedroom communities don’t work. I’ve never read one economic development study that shows that a bedroom community can survive. You have to have a certain amount of commercial and industrial development. That’s what pays the taxes.”
Ford said that “wherever Dollar General wants to go in my county, they are welcome to go — that’s the way I view it.”
More than 400 residents of Morgan County have signed a petition calling on the Morgan County Planning Commission to encourage developers to consider shifting the proposed new Dollar General store from the corner of US 522 and Oakland Road to the Morgan County Business Park just one mile away.
What’s shouldn’t the proposed Dollar General go in the business park?
“It’s not for me to make that call, it’s for Dollar General to make that call,” Ford said. “It’s their money they are spending. They have an Olympic process they have to go through to locate their store.”
Ford said — “we shouldn’t even be talking about Dollar General.”
“Dollar General did nothing to encourage any of this,” Ford said. “All Dollar General did was talk to a developer that had a piece of property he wanted to sell. What created the problem was he tried to take a subdivision that was platted for eight or twelve lots or whatever, and turn it into a mixed development where you have commercial and residential.”
The county commission recently decided to purchase a run down building that sits next to the courthouse and tear it down.
What if, hypothetically, the owners wanted to put a strip club there? Could they do it?
Ford said they couldn’t because of an adult entertainment ordinance that was passed when he was Commissioner more than ten years ago now.
Ford supported the ordinance.
Isn’t that zoning?
You are telling a private owner that cannot build a strip club there?
“In a particular case, where something is that in your face, that deals with morality issues, issues that are different than the average issue, I felt comfortable supporting it,” Ford said.
Ford approves of the state telling an owner of private property that they can’t put a strip club up on their own property?
“Yes,” Ford said.