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Officials to consider addressing

December 5, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Commission has been asked to consider an ordinance requiring residents and businesses to post their new citystyle addresses and a procedure for those seeking to change their street's name.

The ordinance was suggested by County Sheriff Richard Ferguson, who has been heading an effort to assign new citystyle addresses to unincorporated areas of the county, and drawn up by County Prosecutor David B. Cross at his request.

The assignment of citystyle addresses to unincorporated areas, particularly those with Rural Delivery or Rural Route numbers only, conforms with a federal mandate intended to ease delivery by postal carriers and response by police, firefighters and ambulance crews.

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Brooke County Clerk Sylvia Benzo administered oaths to Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis during the commission’s meeting Tuesday. Ennis was elected to fill the unexpired term of the late Bernie Kazienko, and it’s customary to administer oaths to such individuals after ballots have been canvassed. Jim Andreozzi, who was elected to the full-term commission seat, will be administered oaths in January, when he takes office. -- Warren Scott

Affected residents are required to adopt the new addresses when they are issued them and to notify billing agencies and others, including the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, of the change. They may continue to receive mail at post office boxes if they choose.

Ferguson said the ordinance is a simplified version of ordinances in place in other West Virginia counties.

The commission agreed to ask Cross whether a specific number of readings and public hearing are required for its passage.

If approved, it would require residents and business owners to post their new citystyle street numbers on their buildings or if the buildings are more than 50 feet from their road, at their driveway or property entrance.

The numbers should be of a clearly visible material and in a color different from their background, the ordinance states and at least 3 inches high for a home and 6 inches high for a business.

The proposed ordinance establishes a $500 fine for those who don't comply.

But Ferguson said most residents have been receptive to their new addresses and he believes most are willing to post their new numbers. He said some residents requested them before they were formally adopted because they needed numbered addresses to receive deliveries from businesses on the Internet or to open new bank accounts.

In September the effort was protested by representatives of five Wellsburg households who said the sheriff's department shouldn't assign new addresses to city residences and no procedure was set for them to appeal the new names and numbering.

Ferguson said some city addresses were changed to conform with federal guidelines. For example, a road that began as a driveway for a single home on property where additional homes were later built must be given a street, he said.

He has since agreed to drop the new addresses for the city residents but has asked Wellsburg City Council to pass a resolution acknowleding they have chosen not to participate in the addressing efforts.

The proposed ordinance allows residents to seek changes to their street's name but with some conditions. It states new street names assigned through the citystyle addressing efforts may not be changed for two years. After that, 80 percent of property owners along a road may petition the county commission for a new name.

The group would be required to pay a $250 fee and any costs incurred by the name change.

The ordinance also establishes penalties for vandalism of street signs erected through the citystyle addressing efforts.

The posting of hundreds of street signs in many rural areas of the county, by crews hired by the sheriff, has received favorable comment from many residents.

In other business:

County Clerk Sylvia Benzo administered oaths of office to Commissioner Tim Ennis. Ennis noted he was elected in November to serve the unexpired term of the late Bernie Kazienko, which ends in 2016, and said it's customary for such individuals to be sworn in after the ballots have been canvassed.

Jim Andreozzi, who was elected to the full-term commission seat, will be administered oaths in January, when he takes office.

The commission opened bids for the installation of insulation to the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority's storage building near the county's animal shelter at 44 Hollow off state Route 2 in Beech Bottom.

The bids, in the amount of $2,950 from Tom Brown of Wellsburg and $2,724 from Kohout Construction of Wellsburg, were referred to the solid waste board for its consideration.

The commission agreed to advertise for assistant prosecuting attorneys at the request of Joseph Barki III, who was elected county prosecutor in November and will fill the office in January.

The commission reappointed Henry Tarr of Weirton, Paul Lish and Walter Ferguson, both of Wellsburg; and Paul DiGiacinto of Follansbee to the county's park and recreation commission, which oversees Brooke Hills Park. Commissioner Norma Tarr abstained because her husband was among the appointments.

The commission will send a thank you to Joe Mullenbach of Follansbee, who had expressed interest in one of the seats.

(Scott can be contacted at

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