It was deja vu all over again at Marlinton Town Council Monday evening as the discussion turned, yet again, to signs and the town’s sign ordinance.
The conversation began when property owner Zach Chittum – who owns the building occupied by Alfredo’s and Old Mountain Tavern – said he wanted to file a complaint about the billboard next to his building.
Chittum asked council if that was the kind of signage they wanted in the town and said he was bothered by the size of the sign and how close it is to the street.
Mayor Sam Felton explained to Chittum that the sign has been discussed at length and that it has a permit and is on private land so there is not much the town can do about it at this point.
Code enforcement officer Scott Gibb added that the sign is now in compliance with the sign ordinance.
Later in the meeting, the sign ordinance committee presented the first reading of the new sign ordinance. After six months of meetings and reviews of other town’s sign ordinances, committee member and councilmember Gail Hyer said the committee was open to suggestions and discussion.
Councilmember Joe Smith asked several questions and said he, personally, was not a fan of the flat fee rate for having a sign in town and suggested possibly having an annual fee.
Council discussed the possibility of adding an annual fee to the ordinance, which did not sit well with town resident and business owner Kristy Lanier.
Lanier addressed council and said she was very upset that the town is discussing permitting and taxing business owners even more when, in her opinion, the town is not safe for its residents. She said she does not feel safe in town as a resident and is sick of the way the town treats its business owners.
Lanier left the meeting before the discussion ended with council deciding it would not add an annual fee to the ordinance.
Council approved the first reading of the ordinance and Hyer said the ordinance can be amended before the second reading if there are any requests for changes.
In other business:
• Property owner Crystal Dean approached council with a request to place a stone or pole at the ends of the alleyway between the S.B. Wallace and Alfredo’s buildings. Dean said she and her business partner have bought the Wallace building and are renovating it into apartments and a business space.
Dean said they are planning to have two entrances to the building that will open onto the alleyway and she is concerned about motorists using the alleyway and possibly injuring someone exiting the building.
Dean explained that while she wants the alleyway to be blocked, she does not have a problem with people parking behind Alfredo’s. She added that she also plans to turn part of her lot on Main Street into parking for those using the Wallace building.
Council discussed the issue and approved placement of two poles at both ends of the alleyway with the stipulation that the poles could be moved if needed.
Council also approved the following:
• to put a town lot on US Rt. 219 up for auction with a minimum bid of $7,500.
• to donate $500 to the Pocahontas County Free Libraries.
• the first reading of Ordinance Enacting a Code of Ordinances for the Town of Marlinton, revising, amending, restating, codifying and compiling certain existing ordinances.
• to purchase two additional security cameras to be placed in town, not to exceed $5,000.