It was a late night for the Marlinton Town Council at their March 7 meeting, but it was a meeting that concluded with progress made.
With regard to one important matter, Mayor Sam Felton presented the council with committee nominations for the Housing Authority and Planning Commission.
“The good news is that we have names,” Felton remarked, “but the bad news is that we don’t have enough names.”
Of the nominations received, only one seat needed to be filled on the Planning Comission, while three seats were left empty on the Housing Authority. Roger Trusler, Joseph Smith, Katie Workman and Gail Hyer all expressed an interest to serve on the Planning Commission, with Jake Krack putting his hat in the ring to serve on either board.
“Jake’s youth on the Planning Commission, I think, would be advantageous,” councilmember Norris Long suggested as the discussion got underway.
However, concern was voiced over having a husband and wife serve on the same board, and it was suggested that, with his lack of a preference, Krack be placed on the Housing Authority.
Upon reviewing the ordinance, it was discovered that five people were needed to fill the Planning Commission slots – two of whom were required to be the mayor and a person of council. Felton expressed a reluctance to join another committee, but councilmember Mark Strauss had the solution.
According to the ordinance, “one member must be a member of the municipal governing body, or designee, and one member must be from the administrative department of the municipality, or designee.”
The council approved the following Planning Commission nominations:
- Roger Trusler, for a term of one year
- Joseph W. Smith, for a term of two years
- Katie Workman, for a term of three years
- Gail Hyer, designated by Felton for a term of three years to expire at the end of his term in office
- B.J. Gudmundsson, designated by Felton for a term of three years to expire at the end of his term in office
The discussion concerning the Housing Authority nominations was tabled for a later date.
Frank Graveley Memorial Flag Pole to be erected at Mountain View Cemetery
“As all of you know, the town lost a unofficial employee back a few months ago named Frank Gravely,” Joe Smith said, “and Frank was very dedicated to the cemetery. It was a passion for him that that cemetery be taken care of, especially during Memorial weekend. Well, myself and some other previous government officials, plus some private citizens, would like to erect a flag pole at the mausoleum area with a plaque in memory of Frank.
“The reason we look at that area is because Frank would go up there, sit, and just look out at the cemetery. I don’t know how many citizens don’t know what Frank did for this town, but the past three administrations know what he did, and he is greatly missed.”
Paid for through private funds and donations, the group working on Gravely’s memorial hope to purchase a 25-foot flag pole and fit it with a light so that the area might be lit 24/7. A desire to either place pavers filled with flowers or plant them at the base was expressed, as well.
“It won’t just be a flag pole standing there by itself,” Smith added.
Due to Gravely’s dedication to ensuring that flags were placed on every veteran’s headstone, the group hopes to see the project finished in time for a Memorial Day weekend dedication ceremony.
The council approved Smith’s initial request, with the exact location of the memorial flag pole to be determined at a later date.
Mountain View Cemetery headstone restriction
The council revisited February’s discussion of headstone restrictions in what’s known as the new section of Mountain View.
According to Felton, no restrictions against upright headstones had been found in the ordinance. However, a restriction was found in the cemetery’s deed.
“I spoke to an attorney about this,” councilmember Sue Helton said, “and there are restrictions in the deed about stones placed in this particular section. The only way to remove these restrictions is to have every living individual, who owns a plot in that restricted area, release the restriction in writing.”
Helton further questioned the lawyer and learned that the restriction releases had to be unanimous. Should one person opt not to release their restriction, then the release would fail.
The discussion was tabled for a later date.
In other news:
- Councilmember Mark Strauss provided an update on the Opera House parking lot construction. Demolition has started on the building, and the committee hopes to see the previously discussed outdoor stage built in time for Pioneer Days. Architect consultant Jonathan Smith, formerly of Marlinton, has volunteered to draw the building plans, free of charge.
- John Tuggle, of Dunn Engineering, presented an update concerning the Water Plant Project.
- No action was taking concerning the DEP Consent Order for the Lagoon Sewer System, but Felton did provide a brief update. He has been in communication with DEP and believes that, by moving on suggested improvements, the agency recognizes that the town is willing to fix the issues. Felton is currently waiting to hear back from DEP with the next step.
- The discussion concerning the Vacant Building Registration and Ordinance and the Rental Registration Program and Ordinance was tabled for a later date.
- The council accepted the Budget Revision 1 as presented with a vote of 6-1, with Helton objecting.
- The council had its first reading, by title only, of the amended Marlinton Tree Ordinance No. 1001, and approved the ordinance as read and presented on its first reading.
Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building.