Lewisburg development projects highlight meeting

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At the Tuesday night Lewisburg City Council meeting, Zoning Officer Chuck Smith reported on three large construction developments from the planning commission. One project is the Enterprise Rent-A-Car concession, which has relocated from the Greenbrier Valley Airport to a site on North Jefferson Street. The site plan will include a maintence area, business office and a car wash.

A second development is the expansion of Morgan Manor on Austin Street. The new owners will add seven feet to two sides of the three-story brick apartment building, Smith said. Residents will be moved from section to section in the structure as the $2.5 million renovation and expansion project proceeds. The project is expected to take one year to complete.

A third project, presented by new owners, Lee Street Partners, proposes that the former Lewisburg High School and Elementary School buildings be renovated as apartments, efficiencies and arts-related business spaces, Smith said. Phase one of the project will focus on developing 19 efficiency units, each measuring 400 square feet. A later phase two will center on building 15 one-bedroom apartments, according to Smith’s report. He said the housing units would be marketed to WVSOM students.

In other business:

  • Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester announced two projects the city is pushing forward are nearing a successful completion. The Safe Routes to School project, serving Lewisburg Elementary School students, and the Confederate Cemetery trail both cross over New River Community and Technical College property. Council approved the final wording in a memorandum of understanding between the city and New River.
  • A traffic-calming plan for the Court and Church streets loop and Maple Street will be slowly phased in to see how effective they are in slowing down traffic, according to the finance committee report by councilmember Mark Etten. The city will implement one speed “hump” on each of the three streets. The humps are not bumps, the mayor said. If traveling at 25 mph, there is no jarring bump, but if going faster, the bump will be felt. The cost per hump is estimated at under $3,000. Residents have voiced concerns about too many speeding vehicles in their neighborhoods for years. “This is a very appropriate response to traffic increases through residential neighborhoods,” councilmember Joseph Lutz said.
  • The laying of the levy for fiscal year 2018 for Lewisburg was approved by council, with Manchester stating that the levy will continue at the same rate as it has been for many years.
  • The fire safety appeals board now has its fifth and final board member. Manchester said Joshua Edwards’ name was brought forth as a fair and reputable addition to the board to hear issues and complaints from Lewisburg residents and first due area residents.
  • Bid approvals for asbestos removal and demolition of a structure at 304 Thomas Street was approved. Smith said that since the vacant structure ordinance was passed a few years ago, 22 structures were listed for potential removal. But, he said, as it’s turned out, several structures were successfully rehabilitated. Now there are only three left on the list. Smith credited the city council for alloting funds for the vacant structure ordinance for the betterment of the city.
  • A task order by the Chapman Technical Group to design a municipal parking lot behind the Shuck Memorial Baptist Church was approved by council not to exceed $10,000.
  • City Recorder Shannon Beatty said poll workers, drawn from a list at the county clerk’s office, are being collected and trained for the upcoming municipal election in June.
  • Four ordinances were approved on second reading. Three addressed amendments to the city code by 1) defining mixed use occupancy for downtown commercial buildings that combine with upper floor residential use, and 2) residential density in the district was encouraged with a change to the minimum square footage for residential units in the downtown district, and 3) by referencing the definition of hazardous and dangerous terms used in the international building code. The fourth ordinance added language to encourage prompt remitance of bed tax payments to the city.
  • Proclamations: 1) Commemorating the Children’s Memorial Flag Day Ceremony, to be held on Friday, Apr. 28, in front of the courthouse at noon, is a way of memorializing the thousands of children and teenagers who die violently each year. The proclamation encourages public awareness and involvement in supporting parents to raise their children in a safe, nurturing environment. 2) City council honored the 50-year anniversary of the Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s (GVT) incorporation in 1967 by proclaiming Apr. 24, 2017, as Greenbrier Valley Theatre Day. Named by then-Governor Joe Manchin as a West Virginia “Jewel of the Hills,” GVT has been in continuous operation in Lewisburg, attracting more than 10,000 patrons each year.
  • Apr. 4, 2017 was proclaimed National Service Recognition Day by council, encouraging citizens to recognize the positive impact of national service, to thank those who serve and to find ways to give back to their communities.