By Sarah Mansheim
White Sulphur Springs City Council passed a first reading of an amended fee ordinance for individuals seeking zoning variances within the city. The new zoning procedures, if passed, will increase the fee for a variance request (if a building permit has been denied) to $75 from the current $35. According to the fee schedule, released to the public at Monday’s meeting, a building permit application fee will be $25 for structures up to $10,000 with $1 per $1,000 thereafter; $150 to request to amend zoning map applications; and a $45 fee for a copy of a zoning ordinance.
The new ordinance says that the fees “help to offset the necessary expenses to cover the costs involved with the processing of your building permit and/or variance request and include, but are not limited to, copies, advertising expenses and necessary supplies.”
“These fees are subject to change if the costs increase,” the ordinance says.
Council also passed the first reading of a new zoning ordinance booklet. The second reading of that ordinance will be held during a special meeting of council on Friday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. at WSS City Hall.
In other business, Councilman Mark D. Gillespie, speaking on behalf of the planning and zoning committee, told council and the audience that two new restaurants are expected to be built in White Sulphur in the coming months. One of the restaurants, Gillespie said, is “99 percent on the books” – the property has been purchased, he said, and construction should be underway within the first quarter of this year.
The other restaurant, which Gillespie said is “out of California,” and is will begin setting up in March.
Gillespie noted that a third restaurant has expressed interest in opening in the Spa City.
“Maybe we’ll become a restaurant town, I don’t know,” Gillespie said. He apologized to the audience and media for not revealing the names of the restaurants, and said that the potential eateries have demanded secrecy so that potential competitors would not move in on their territory.
Gillespie also mentioned that a new clothing boutique and two “cultural events” may be coming to town.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “I think we’re on the right track.”
White Sulphur’s Main Street President Pat Harper also addressed council, stating that the committee had just held a meeting which included plans for the town’s 2016 calendar. The Main Street association and the Dandelion Festival committee have both submitted grant requests to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to have new rack cards printed, and the Dandelion Festival committee also submitted an advertising grant request to the CVB.
Harper said that the committee spent time at their recent meeting revisiting Main Street’s mission statement: “To revitalize, protect, promote and renew community spirit in order to create a pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation that supports our local businesses and residents.”
Harper said that during the Main Street meeting, it was reiterated that the organization exists outside of political posturing, and that revisiting the mission statement helped the committee focus their goals.