WVSOM improvements topic of public concerns

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Residents of Crowfields in Lewisburg, attending the Tuesday evening Lewisburg City Council meeting voiced concerns for the planned upcoming improvements at WVSOM and how they might affect the Crowfields neighborhood nearby. Not having heard or seen any announcements about the plans for a new entry road to the college from Hwy. 219, the clock tower and new student center, resident Harvey Neel and others are wondering why there has been nothing about the projects in the papers nor any notices for public hearings. They are anticipating more traffic coming into their neighborhood. Neel said since the school borders the narrow section of Dwyer Lane, Crowfield residents are concerned that emergency service access for the neighborhood could be blocked as traffic increases. As neighbors to the school, the Crowfields residents are forced to conclude that the school is avoiding any public comments on the improvements to the school facilities.

Mayor John Manchester responded stating the osteopathic school has a master plan but that the City has not been consulted on any issue. The only point where the City might have involvement is with an abutment permit at Lee Street, where the school plans to build a road across a small park facing the front of the school Otherwise, the mayor said, the college is not subject to City regulations. He said the topic [traffic in town] is on the agenda of the next Public Works meeting scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month. The next meeting is June 10 at the Paul R. Cooley Council Chambers at 7 p.m.

In other business:

• Four ordinances were approved by council, having received their second readings and public hearings. All will go into effect on July 1, 2014. A few residents attending the meeting gave some discussion, especially concerning the addition of contractors fees to the B&O tax. Questions arose concerning the definition of “contractor.” It depends on how the state defines one’s occupation, said Mayor Manchester. A contractor is defined, with regard to this application, as pertaining to the building profession, including general contractor and any subcontractor such as plumbing, and electrical contractors. If receiving a license, then one is a contractor. If receiving a certificate and not a license, then, the classification as a service business is not affected by the B&O tax. Home-owners doing remodel work themselves on their homes are also not subject to the B&O tax.

The remaining three ordinances were: Ordinance 242 will increase the building permit fee from $3 to $6 per $1,000; Ordinance 243 simplifies business license fee categories, of which, the most common category is the fees for general contractor which will be raised from $15 to $20 per annum. The fourth, Ordinance 244 is for the Home Rule application in which six components were selected for variance allowing Lewisburg to have more control and less bureaucracy. Manchester said there are 22 other cities in the state vying for the 16 openings for home rule application.

• Lewisburg’s fire department, headed up by Chief Wayne Pennington, has been approved to purchase a fire pumper/rescue truck plus equipment for not more than $350,000 to be financed over seven years at an interest rate of 3.80 percent.

• Council member Mark Etten announced there will be a comprehensive plan meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 11 at the Paul R. Cooley Council Chambers at 5:30 p.m.

• Council member Josh Baldwin, reporting from the Parks Commission meeting, stated with obvious disappointment that a baseball Little League Tournament in Lewisburg has been cancelled due to a lack of volunteers needed to cover the games. Twenty volunteers are needed for each game.

• A proposed sidewalk from Court Street to Dorie Miller Park was approved for construction.

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