Commission president Kristie Tenney and commissioner Terry Cutright discuss the Holly Apartments property in Adrian at their Aug. 25 meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

County begins process to take unsafe, dilapidated Holly Apartments property by eminent domain

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday voted to utilize eminent domain to demolish the Holly Apartments.

Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry brought forth a case from the county’s Safe Structures and Sites Enforcement Board regarding the Holly Apartments in Adrian during the Aug. 25 Upshur County Commission meeting. The property includes seven parcels in the Meade Tax District.

“This particular case is different than most. The property is the Holly Apartments, and it is part of an unclosed estate, which the executor of the estate has been unwilling to take steps to clean up the property,” Perry said. “The remnants of the building have been untouched since the structure fire in May 2021 and we’ve received numerous calls from concerned residents pertaining to the safety of the property. At this point, cleaning up the property is detrimental and after discussing it with legal counsel, it’s recommended for the commission to take steps to have the property condemned and exercise the power of eminent domain.”

Eminent domain is the power of governmental entities to take private property in certain limited cases, provided the property owner is fairly compensated.

Kristie Tenney, president of the Upshur County Commission, asked Perry what would happen after the building was condemned.

“At this point, I am just requesting authorization to move forward with condemning the property, which as you are aware, has not been done to date,” Perry said. “That process would take place through the prosecuting attorney’s office and would then be filed as a case in (Upshur County) Circuit Court with all the heirs as respondents.”

Upshur County Commissioner Terry Cutright asked if the executor wanted anything to do with the property, and Perry said he did not. Cutright asked if one of the commissioners should talk to the executor and see if he would simply sign the property over to the commission.

“I do not believe he can; he knows of a church that he would like to give the property to and then they would demolish the building with grant funds is what I’m being told,” Perry said. “However, he doesn’t have the authority to just sign the property over because it’s an unclosed estate. The deceased is from 2008 – that’s how long the estate has been open – and there are several unpaid claims with the estate and several other properties also involved; it’s not just this property.”

The commission’s Aug. 25 meeting packet includes a July 18, 2022, letter written by county property compliance officer Greg Harris to the executor of the estate, John Harmon George, informing him that the Safe Structures and Sites Enforcement Board is seeking an order from the county commission requiring him to correct numerous health and safety hazards; dispose of household waste and other garbage, including junk vehicles and tires; and tear down/clean up the property. A property owner has 20 days from the receipt of the letter to request a hearing with the county clerk or the commission issues an order requiring cleanup to be completed, according to Harris’s letter.

Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith said there is also a problem because the executor of the estate only owns three-quarters interest, as opposed to full interest, and another heir owns one-quarter interest on the seven parcels of property. Perry said the individual who owns the other quarter interest is currently incarcerated.

Tenney asked if they would only be condemning the Holly Apartments.

“Yes, it’s my understanding that you condemn the property, and this would go to Circuit Court and then the commission would be able to purchase the property at fair market value, demolish the building and then either utilize the property for public use or sell the property,” Perry said.

Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte said he tries to err on the side of caution and follow advice from their legal counsel. Perry also told the commissioners the structure could become a liability if it isn’t razed.

“Several options have been looked at; however, [Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Hinkle] thinks this is the most viable option to get the property cleaned up,” Perry said. “It’s not like this property just has an accumulation of debris; that property is unsafe. I drove by the other day, and it looks like part of the roof is missing, and if someone goes in the building, it could collapse. You’ve also received several concerns from volunteer fire departments. I’ve asked Mr. George if he had any plans on demolishing himself and he does not.”

Nolte made the motion to follow the advice of legal counsel and Cutright seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.



Broaddus Wound Care receives Center of Excellence Award

Philippi, WV – Broaddus Hospital is honored to announce their wound care center is a recipient of RestorixHealth’s highest achievement, the Wound Center of Excellence Award. Recipients of this prestigious award meet or exceed national

Buckhannon Sanitary Board approves recommendation to raise wages

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon Sanitary Board recently met and discussed the recommendation of the Revenue Review Committee regarding wages for the Buckhannon sanitary workers. Amberle Jenkins, the city finance and administrative director, said the recommendations of the Revenue […]

There’s more to this story! Unlock immediate access to everything on our site and get two extra months free when you subscribe for a year. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

FBI and local law enforcement lead safety training at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School on Friday

BUCKHANNON – Teachers, staff and administration at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School took part in important safety sessions Friday in an effort to support safety. The training sessions included learning about hostile intruders, how to stop the bleed, room-specific exercises, and […]

There’s more to this story! Unlock immediate access to everything on our site and get two extra months free when you subscribe for a year. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

judge court attorney

Upshur County woman admits to fentanyl charges

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Michaela Dawn Gregory, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, has admitted to selling fentanyl, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced. Gregory, 26, pleaded guilty today to one count of “Distribution of Fentanyl” and


Soccer ‘Cats earn 1-0 home win over Cedarville

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Wesleyan (4-2-2) men’s soccer team took down Cedarville (4-4-1) 1-0 thanks to a rocket from Adam Gribben on Saturday (Sept. 24) at Cebe Ross Field. In the first half,

BUHS Girls Soccer Feature Image

Soccer Lady Bucs pick up two more wins this week over East Fairmont and Robert C. Byrd

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buc soccer team won a pair of 1-0 contests in Big 10 Conference action this week. At home on Wednesday in their home finale, the Lady Bucs downed East Fairmont by that 1-0 score and […]

There’s more to this story! Unlock immediate access to everything on our site and get two extra months free when you subscribe for a year. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.


Water Faucet

Anmoore, Millcreek receive large water system grants

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council announced funding for four sewer and four water system improvement projects at its meeting on Sept. 7. Details for each project are listed below.