POINT PLEASANT — The migration of meth from rural to more urban areas in Mason County is having an impact on Point Pleasant City Council.
At its most recent meeting, council discussed developing ideas to address the issue of properties affected by meth.
The state of West Virginia requires a residence either be cleaned in a very specific way or demolished if meth manufacturing occurred at that residence. Unfortunately, this has meant some homes are sitting vacant because there is either no money to do the cleaning or demolition by the owners.
In larger areas, homes condemned for meth making which also have bank liens can sit empty due to the fact the owners have simply deserted the property, leaving banks with a liability issue concerning what is now deemed hazardous by the state. The end result is often empty properties with police tape around them which sit empty, becoming vandalized until they fall down.
Members of Point Pleasant City Council don’t wish this to happen, given the fact it already has several distressed properties in town to deal with - properties which have nothing to do with meth making. Discussions about meth properties at the meeting included possibly developing an ordinance which requires the owner of a residence to clean up or demolish the meth property within a certain time frame. Again, this issue is only in the discussion phase.
In other council news:
City Attorney R.F. Stein updated council on the Franklin property which is owned by the city and involved in a lawsuit by the property owner of an adjacent building. The adjacent building was once the home of the Wallpaper Outlet which has since gone out of business. Stein said attorneys for the adjacent building’s owner as well as the city’s insurance company were making amendments to a draft of the settlement which will likely be ready in about 45 days. As reported last month, some of the settlement funds were to be used for demolition of both buildings though the owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet will retain the deed to his former property.
As for the Yeager property, Stein said he’d been researching guidelines of an existing housing ordinance which could eventually lead to condemning and cleaning up the Yeager property. This guideline includes approval and review by a committee of various people, including those who hold the positions of city inspector, health inspector, city attorney and members of the fire and police committees.
Stein then talked about the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project which has 71 percent of the 80 percent of right-of-ways collected. A few of the right-of-ways needed were eliminated due to the engineers adjusting where they needed to lay the drainage channel. With this adjustment made, there are still around nine people whom the city needs to sign right-of-ways to get the project moving. If these signatures aren’t obtained, if necessary, it’s possible the city could take their case to court, asking a judge to grant a right-of-entry to proceed.
Council approved the first reading of ordinance 305.02 to help establish a loading and unloading zone on Sixth St. from the hours of 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and 3-5 p.m., Monday-Friday in the area immediately in front of the Jackson County Development Center (JCDC). JCDC provides life training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The ordinance requires two readings to pass.
Council passed the first of two required readings to rezone 225 North Park Dr. from residential to business status. A resident has purchased the property to turn it into a quilt store. The city has insisted entrance into the business be from Jackson Ave. only, not Park Drive.
Mayor Brian Billings informed council the city had received a bid from Layne Christian Company for $17,600 to clean one of the city’s wells. This process will take around four to five days, including a pump test, removal of the pump, dissemble and inspection of the pump, bore blast the well screen to remove particles, minerals and scale, re-installation of the pump and disinfecting the well. Council approved the bid.
Council received a list of vacant and distressed properties as prepared for them, at their request, by City Inspector Jeremy Bryant. Council is to review the list to take possible, further action.
The information for this article is based upon the unofficial, unapproved minutes of the latest city council meeting and are subject to change.