Council tables trailer ordinance
The credence of an ordinance restricting the placement of mobile homes within the city limits weighed heavy on the minds on those present at the most recent Sistersville City Council Meeting.
Though the measure was tabled until the next regular session, discussion on the matter was extensive with fierce opposition from Councilman Vance Ash.
“If we are going to start throwing this up, let’s just decide today what color shirts we are going to wear Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s my personal opinion. You can’t start telling people what to do,” Ash remarked. “you’ve got to have a three-legged dog; your daughter has to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Councilman Dave Dietrich commented during discussion, “I think if we can get 1,000 people to move to town and they want to live in trailers, I’m all for it if my water bill goes down.”
“If I’m living in a large home on Route 2 and the house beside me burns down and you bring in a 10×50 trailer that’s 25-years old, you’ve just dropped the value of my property,” said Mayor Dave Fox. “If you put a brand new trailer in there you’re still dropping the value.”
City Attorney Ryan Morgan addressed his statement, adding that people living in areas where trailers currently exist are not affecting the property values.
Sistersville resident and regular meeting attendee Harold “Juni” Daly reminded the council of the ordinance’s purpose, “The whole idea of this ordinance is to continually upgrade the community from inserting trailers in places where there are nice houses. This upgrades the whole city, eventually. If you allow trailers to keep coming in, then people will not build houses around them. You are defeating your purpose by allowing trailers to come into areas where there is a nice community.”
Though no agreement was reached on the matter, the quorum agreed the wording of the ordinance should exclude pre-manufactured homes from the ordinance.
Daly qualified the description of trailers, “If it’s got a tongue on it and wheels under it, then it’s a trailer.”
The purpose of the ordinance is to prevent people from moving mobile homes onto vacant lots where they did no exist previously.
Daly started off the public forum portion of the meeting by commending the city for the work they have completed. “I want to commend the city on the park. I don’t think a lot of people understand the work that has gone into the park. I think the city was wise in putting (Vance) in charge of that project. There has been a lot of controversy over the ball fields, but I think the city, overall, has come up with a good solution. I see a lot of progress down there. Vance has done a good job.”
He continued, “It’s not often that you get councilmen who will do extra work so I really appreciate that. I am sure Vance does a lot of work he doesn’t get paid for. The city should be proud of the efforts that have been put into the park.
Fox echoed Daly’s sentiments, “I believe we all agree with that. Some of those guys put 16-hour days in, day after day. It looks really good down there.”
“We all have complaints from time to time I know I do but I think what we fail to give credit when there are good jobs done. This is one time that the city needs to be commended on a job well done.”
Since the renovations at the park and pool, many patrons have commented on the attractiveness of the area. The hope is that people visiting for the first time will want to come back.
Tyler Alive Representative Al Tuttle was on hand to give the city an update on their progress within the community and relay information on the future of their projects. “I want to remind everyone about the special meeting July 13 preceding the regular council meeting. We will be meeting in Fox’s Business and Activity Center at 5:30 p.m. Representatives from the West Virginia Development Office Main Street Program and the National Trust and Historic Preservation will be there to discuss the future of Sistersville.”
Additionally, arrangements have been made with the West Virginia Department of Commerce for photographers to take pictures in and around Sistersville. The photographs will be made available to the city for promotions or could be used by the state for promoting the ON TRAC Main Street program.
“I think we should schedule it around one of the events, such as the Marble Festival or the Oil and Gas Festival,” stated Tuttle. “Incidentally, this is being provided free of charge to the city.”
Information is being collected by ON TRAC for a Web site and brochures. “They have requested a three to four sentence overview of the town, its heritage or something special about it, and maybe a motto,” Tuttle said.
Historically, the city’s motto was “Not big but busy” though a new motto may be adopted in the future.
Additional information requested includes signature events, schools and quality of life.
In a recent survey conducted by Tyler Alive, residents answered quality of life questions, describing Sistersville as quiet, peaceful and safe.
In other business, a public hearing was held regarding an ordinance to remove the temporary surcharge of $1 per thousand gallons of water usage currently on the bill of each sewer customer. With no opposition to the ordinance, the council moved to approve and adopt the mandate.
Daly commented, “We would be more than happy to have that removed from our bills.”
The specifications for the extension of the walking trail have been completed and no issues exist with private property. The council voted to approve the extension with no opposition.
Alan Maxwell, chairman of the water board, updated the council on the water project currently underway in Sistersville. “The project is moving along. There will be a conference call with all of the agencies on Wednesday morning. We started out with 22 right-of-ways and we have 13 of those completed.”
Morgan added, “We are waiting to hear back from Genesis (Health Care). They had some safety concerns. In anticipation of their approval, I went ahead and sent them a copy of the document to sign.”
It is important to note that an increase will not be needed for the water project to go through as planned. According to Fox, the last rate increase was enough to cover the cost of completion and 74 percent of the waterline will be paid for by grant monies procured by the city.
Beginning June 22, the city will be getting 27 employees for the summer through the 2009 Summer Youth Work Experience program. The temporary employees will be available to do tasks such as mowing, sweeping and painting, that often take the city crew away from important jobs.
Wages will be provided through the program and the city will only be responsible for Worker’s Compensation insurance for the period they are employed.
Lastly, the council approved a motion put before the council by the Tyler Consolidated Class of 1995 to place a bench in the park as a memorial to classmate Courtney Evans. The memorial was approved with no opposition.