Wellsburg Council tables RV ordinance

WELLSBURG — City Council on Tuesday agreed to table an ordinance restricting parking boats and other recreational vehicles, after opposition was voiced by more than a dozen residents.

Council was slated to consider the first reading of the ordinance, which would prohibit recreational vehicles, motor homes, boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, travel trailers and trailers for any of those vehicles from being parked in streets and alleys or on sidewalks or other public rights of way. It also prohibits them from being parked in the front driveway or yard for more than three days and requires they be at least 5 feet from any adjacent lot.

Robert Murdock, a resident of Ninth Street, said he has parked his boat in his rear driveway and a neighbor parks his RV beside his home. He was among residents who said they pay taxes on their property, including the vehicles, and should have a right to park them where they want.

“I want to know why it’s such a big issue,” Murdock asked council.

The city’s ordinance committee recommended the new regulations, citing vehicles in streets hindering visibility for drivers and on sidewalks blocking the paths of pedestrians.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Della Serevicz said the ordinance was suggested after council learned someone was living for an extended period in an RV while tapped into a resident’s utilities, but it “snowballed” to include other restrictions.

“We’re going to fix it hopefully,” she told residents.

Council unanimously supported a motion by 2nd Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard to return the RV issue to the ordinance committee, which is set to meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 at City Hall.

Billiard said council shouldn’t deter boaters and others who, through their recreational activities, contribute to the city’s economy as well as paying taxes on their property and vehicles.

“We’re known as the friendly little city. I think we need to be friendlier than this ordinance,” he said.

Fourth Ward Councilman Charlie Harris noted he opposed the ordinance at the committee meeting, saying the city is known for its boating.

Council also heard from Angela Cipriani of Pleasant Avenue, who said whenever it rains, muddy stormwater flows from the hillside above her home and into her yard, forming trenches and leaving cakes of mud on storm drains.

She and a neighbor, Carol Lynn, said the water has flooded their basements.

Simonetti told Cipriani that City Manager Steve Maguschak will arrange a meeting with the state Division of Highways to assess the problem.

Following the meeting, Maguschak said the water is flowing from Valley View Drive, a road outside the city maintained by the WVDOH, and the drains were installed by the state.

He said an asphalt curb along Cipriani’s street built by city crews hasn’t succeeded in diverting the runoff.

In other business:

¯ City Solicitor Ryan Weld reported on efforts to address dilapidated structures, including the GenPak building, much of which was destroyed by a fire. He noted a consent order with the building’s owner called for the burned portion to be razed in March and the remainder to be removed in May. Weld said with neither of those deadlines met, council could consider legal action against the owner, but he and others said they have heard a contractor has been hired to demolish the building this month.

¯ Council agreed to establish 15-minute time limits for parking spaces near Myers Quick Stop and the post office at the request of Bill and Denise Myers, owners of the quick stop, who said since parking meters were removed there, the spaces have been monopolized by noncustomers. Plans call for signs to be posted there and no parking curbs to be shortened, if possible under state code, to create more parking.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)