MARLINTON TOWN COUNCIL gives its RV variance rules and regulations one last tweaking before voting to adopt the variance as part of the town’s existing ordinance. Picture from left, clockwise: councilmembers Scott Gibb and Don Morrison, Recorder B. J. Gudmundson, Mayor Sam Felton; councilmembers Sue Helton, Norris Long and Adam Irvine. Town attorney Bob Martin in the foreground. J. Graham photo

Jaynell Graham
Editor

Marlinton Town Council received a disturbing report Monday night with regard to damage to the flowers on Main Street and outside the town office.

Monies from the Main Street Beautification fund had been used to purchase hanging baskets for all the lampposts on Main Street. The first year, the flowers remained in bloom throughout the spring and summer, but early in the season this year, all the new flowers turned brown.

Councilmember Sue Helton contacted Abraham Jordan with the Department of Agriculture and asked for his help in testing the soil from the flower pots as well as soil samples from the flower bed at the town office.

She received a letter from Jordan advising that all the soil tested showed signs of pesticide and weed killer, such as 2,4-D and Roundup.

Vandalism was suspected early on, and it appears the suspicions were valid, as flowers at businesses and other locations in town were not affected.

Councilmember Norris Long inquired as to the status of the Fourth Avenue paving project.

Mayor Sam Felton advised that the bid had been let for the paving, but West Virginia Paving is covered up with work right now, and he hopes that the company will be able to get to the project as it moves from one job to another.

Town attorney Bob Martin reported that the heirs of the Tappan Thomas estate deeded their property at the end of Second Avenue to the town.

Newly hired Town Police officer Travis Cook advised council that, during the month of August, he had 18 traffic stops, two animal control issues, five fire and EMS assists, 18 miscellaneous calls including welfare checks and general inquires, two assault calls, one arrest and 27 calls for service.

Council noted that Cook’s presence in the town has had a positive effect.

To assist Cook in his work, council approved the purchase of a used police car from the town of Ronceverte at a cost of $3,500.

Wayne Hypes, with Dunn Engineers, addressed council concerning additions and or changes to the town’s water improvement project. He also advised that the contractor, Orders Construction, may move its equipment to higher ground in anticipation of this weekend’s possible rain event.

Attorney Josh Hardy was on the agenda asking for clarification of the town’s animal ordinance.

Felton recused himself from the discussion.

Hardy said his clients asked for a special permit to house more than the three pets, which is the number allowed per residence by the ordinance. While his clients do not have a problem with filing for the permit, nor paying the $50 fee, Hardy questioned a provision in the permit application which allows the building inspector to “inspect the premises at any time.”

Hardy advised that the animal ordinance does not contain this clause, and that no special permit application existed at the time of his clients’ request.

After much arguing and raising of voices by Martin and some members of council, Long made a motion to table the request until the next meeting, noting that he was on the committee that drew up the animal ordinance, and he had never seen the special permit application.

Council made a few revisions to the new RV variance, noting that approved variances must be renewed each year.

The RV variance, as amended, was approved by council, with Recorder B. J. Gudmundsson voting against it.

Council advised Felton to proceed with hiring part-time maintenance workers as one town worker is hospitalized and a second employee has terminated his employment with the town.

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