Discussion, little action at MTC

Jaynell Graham
Marlinton Town Council’s Monday night agenda had 10 items for “discussion and or action.” By the end of the meeting, there had been a lot of discussion, but very little action.

 The town has received applications for variances to the RV Ordinance to allow property owners to put in RV hook-ups if their property meets the set-back and square footage requirements.

 As council considered the first permit application, it was determined that the property met the requirements, and councilmember Norris Long’s motion to approve passed by a 3 to 2 vote, with Recorder BJ Gudmundsson and councilmember Sue Helton voting against it.

 Long had questioned the wording on the permit application, and noted that his motion to approve included correcting the wording in the application to reflect that the variance is for “RV occupancy for more than 30 days per quarter,” rather than RVs being allowed to be parked in town for that period of time. Long said he had an RV in his backyard that had been there for 12 years.  

Council then entered into a lengthy discussion about 911 addresses versus mailing addresses and the division of parcels of property to meet the variance requirements, and more.

 At the end of the discussion, Long withdrew his previous motion for approval, and the issue was tabled until the permit application is corrected with regard to wording and fees.

The permit application was drafted by former town attorney Bob Martin, who resigned, effective November 1.

Also on the agenda were presentations by representatives from three law firms who are interested in serving as legal counsel for the town. Each of them will submit proposed fees to Mayor Sam Felton and council will make a decision at its January meeting. 

Felton advised council that T-Mobile’s proposal for placement of a communications facility at the municipal building has passed from T-Mobile’s representative to its legal counsel. He is waiting for an update from the company.

Council approved payments in the amount of $295,963.52 toward the water improvement project. 

Gudmundsson expressed her concern about Health Department inspections that resulted in violations at the water plant. 

Wayne Hypes, president of Dunn Engineers, was unconcerned, telling council that if the water plant didn’t have problems, the town wouldn’t be spending money to improve it.

Hypes also advised council that a temporary water plant is available in the event that the old water plant should fail. 

Felton said that, as a precaution, the town is keeping all the tanks full to ensure adequate service to the town until the new plant is put into service.

Council approved a 60-day contract extension with Mid-Atlantic Storage for placement of the cemetery tank, as the company that supplies tanks has a backlog of orders. The company is trying to put on a third shift to meet demands, but has been unable to find employees.

 The municipal judge will hold court in council chambers, and council authorized Felton to get estimates and drawings for a plan to raise the area designated for the judge and council by one step, and to incorporate a desk which would allow all council members to face the audience during meetings. 

The final item on the agenda dealt with the issue of whether to publish a “Town Christmas Card” in The Pocahontas Times.

Helton stated that she did not think it was an appropriate use of taxpayer monies to place an ad in the paper.

Gudmundsson said that the town was not allowed to place an ad in the paper if the ad contained scripture.

Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m., holidays excluded, in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building.

Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@pocahontastimes.com

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