POINT PLEASANT — The North Point Pleasant Drainage Project crossed a major hurdle recently when over 80 percent of the property easements needed to proceed were obtained and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia gave the project the go ahead.
The easements were discussed at this week’s council meeting with City Attorney R.F. Stein saying 85.7 percent of easements had been obtained and recorded with 12 easements still outstanding. Stein predicted at least two of those 12 would be resolved, and signed, soon. Stein recognized the work of Dave Tarbett for having obtained many of those right-of-ways.
Stein said if the remaining easements weren’t signed, the only other option for the city would be to go before a judge and ask to be granted a right-of-way on private properties for the project. This, of course, is a last option but one Stein said needed to be done by April 10.
Stein explained this project as the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Agency forcing the city, along with many other small towns, to separate their sanitary sewer from storm water. The project will also help alleviate drainage problems in the Northern end of Point Pleasant.
At least one resident, Judy Reynolds of Madison Ave., spoke against the project, saying she had no drainage problems yet her property would be affected. She said the project would put a “grassy waterway in my back yard.” Engineers with Burgess and Niple, the firm handling the project, said a “channel” would be placed near the backside of her property. Stein told Reynolds there would be no sewage flowing on her property - sewage would be in an underground pipe just as it is now.
Reynolds asked why a culvert or buried pipe couldn’t be placed on her property as opposed to digging the channel? Stein said that option was looked at and would cost around $47,000 which would be cost prohibitive to the project. Reynolds was told the channel would be sloped to drain rainwater into Crooked Creek and there would be no standing water in that channel - it was basically there to catch and direct rainwater into another waterway as opposed to letting it pool. Reynolds, along with a supporter who did not identify himself, disagreed with the explanation and felt Reynolds’ property would be harmed by the project.
Again, with over 80 percent of the easements having been obtained, financing on the project can move forward with all financing coming from the WVDEP. Council also unanimously passed a resolution giving Mayor Brian Billings authority to sign documents on behalf of the city regarding the NPPDP - this resolution was requested by Burgess and Niple. The Point Pleasant Register will continue to update readers on the project’s latest cost estimate, bidding process and construction dates as that information becomes available.
Also in relation to resolving and obtaining more easements for the NPPDP this week, city council unanimously voted to approve the first reading to vacate a portion of Marietta St. Billings said this property is on the tax maps but had never been developed or maintained.
Council members present at this week’s meeting were Janet Hartley, Bob Rulen, Linda Smith, Elaine Hunt, Rick Simpkins, Keith Sargent, Allen Moran, Bob Doeffinger, Charles Towner.
More on this meeting in an upcoming edition of the Point Pleasant Register.