WEIRTON - Weirton Council, on Monday, agreed to make some changes in how particular developments in the city are handled, while agreeing to move forward with various other projects in the city
Council agreed to make an amendment to the city's Unified Development Ordinance, which requires sidewalks on both sides of the street in planned development districts, including the Three Springs Drive area. All public roads constructed in PDDs in the future would need to have sidewalks, according to officials. The amendment will not be retroactive, which means sidewalks will not need to be added to previously existing structures.
The first reading of an ordinance adopting the recommendations of the Weirton Planning Commission regarding the zoning map classification of a parcel on Greenbrier Road was heard.
At the Planning Commission meeting in March, R. Castelli Inc. of 4224 Freedom Way requested a 38-acre property along Greenbrier Road be re-zoned from a single-family residential district to a multi-family residential district. This action could allow for the development of an apartment complex instead of only single-family houses.
Council members voiced some concerns about sewage and traffic capacity in the area. They intend to look into those questions before the second reading of the ordinance at May's city council meeting.
Council members voted to approve four resolutions to place liens against real properties for costs incurred in demolition of unsafe properties. The liens are to be placed on structures on Hill Avenue, Orchard Street and Zeta Street.
In other business, a resolution to enter into an agreement for an operations, maintenance and repair cost share program for Harmon Creek watershed structures was passed.
The city will contribute $10,000 to split the cost of dam site inspections and maintenance with the West Virginia Northern Panhandle Conservation District, as it has done for several years. According to their website, the organization's mission is "to provide for and promote the protection and conservation of West Virginia's soil, land, water and related resources for the health, safety and general welfare of the state's citizens."
Council members voted to participate in the Northern Panhandle Home Consortium again from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. According to their website, "the Consortium's primary focus is to provide down payment and closing cost assistance to income-eligible first-time home buyers who purchase homes within the Consortium's geographical region." They draw funds from HUD for housing programs to benefit income-eligible persons in the service area.
Ward 1 Councilman Ronnie D. Jones was re-appointed to the Weirton Area Water Board, and Wesley Anderson was appointed to the Housing Authority.
Mayor George Kondik presented two Mayor's Awards.
The first award went to Helen Tate when Kondik proclaimed May 2014 to be Older Americans Month.
"I encourage every citizen to take time this month to recognize older adults and the people who serve and support them as powerful and vivid citizens who greatly contribute to this great city," Kondik said.
The second was presented to Rhonda Stubbs, executive director of A Child's Place Court-Appointed Special Advocates. Kondik proclaimed April to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month, as requested by Comfort House and CASA.
Stubbs also announced that CASA has found a new permanent home at Tri-State Medical's former location on Main Street in Follansbee. An open house is being planned for the near future.
"We're super excited to be done with our moving around," she said. "We really appreciate everyone's support."
Sgt. Elizabeth Calmbacher with the Hancock County Sheriff's Reserves briefed council on Project Lifesaver.
"It's a search and rescue system that uses transmitter radio and electronic tracking devices for people with autism, dementia, Alzheimer's or any cognitive disorder. If they have a tendency to wander away from home, we take the transmitter and are able to track them. An average rescue without Project Lifesaver is about $15,000 or more with all the man-hours and work. With Project Lifesaver, it costs $300 to get the initial enrollment which covers the actual transmitter, battery, wristband and tester," she explained.
Since the inception of the international program in 1999 there have been more than 2,000 rescues, according to Calmbacher.
"We are seeking donations from the community for this project, and we will be applying for grants," she added.
"Any help you all can give, it's very well worth it," Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said.
For more information or to donate to the program, contact the Hancock County sheriff's office.
Paul Hornick, co-chair of the Brooke-Hancock Relay for Life, requested the city's help with the Paint the Town Purple promotional initiative, which they have participated in previously. City Manager Valerie Means said they had already been planning on it and purple decorations were in the works.
John Brown, director of public works, thanked Ward 6 Councilman David Dalrymple for visiting with the department's employees recently to work out budget matters.
"He had some great ideas for patching and paving. Some we are going to explore," Brown said. "Other council members are welcome to stop out, too."
Dalrymple said he met with them to discuss the possibility of holding back about $10,000 to $15,000 designated in the budget for paving toward comprehensive patching instead.
"I was thinking we could use the money out of my allotment to create an overtime crew of our workers, because I really do feel they are well-qualified and professional when it comes to patching," he said. "The money can go further if we use our own men and our own equipment."
Rik Rikowski, library director, reported that April is National Library Month, with April 14 to 19, to include a celebration of the Mary H. Weir Public Library.
"Which means it's fine free week. The staff and I encourage everyone to be able to have a clean library card with no fines that you can use to access services at the library," Rikowski said.
He also read a notice from Family Resource Network Advocates announcing that from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday the library will host Substance Abuse Prevention for "concerned groups and agencies including law enforcement to talk about the issues regarding the drug abuse in the Ohio Valley and specifically this area."
There will be a Dr. Seuss Celebrity Reading Night at the library for children and their families Thursday at 6 p.m.
(Dalrymple can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)