CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An artist who had his Peer to Pier mural removed without his knowledge and replaced with another mural was not permitted to speak during Monday's Charleston City Council meeting.
Rodney Harper and his wife, Amy, traveled from Spencer to attend the meeting, but arrived after the public comment portion.
After council conducted its regular business, East End Independent Councilman Cubert Smith tried to introduce the Harpers to council.
"I apologize on behalf of the city," he said. "I hope ... you learn from this incident."
Mayor Danny Jones told Smith he did not represent the views of the city.
"You speak only for yourself and not for any of the rest of us," Jones said.
Rodney Harper raised his hand to comment, but Jones did not allow him to do so, instead calling for a motion to adjourn.
"That train has left the station," Jones said, referring to the public comment period.
Harper painted one of the Peer to Pier murals on Kanawha Boulevard last year as part of FestivALL. However, this summer, city officials removed his mural and commissioned a new mural to take its place.
City officials did not inform Harper of their decision, and the issue was not presented to council until Smith brought the situation up at the Sept. 3 meeting. The application of the protective clear coat over the mural and deviation from the original design were cited as a reason for the removal of the mural, though Harper disputes those claims.
The Harpers said they would be present at the next council meeting to try to address council.
Also Monday night, council members got their first look at the finalized version of the city's new comprehensive plan, dubbed "Imagine Charleston."
The plan was unveiled to the public in June after months of research and public meetings in the city. In a nutshell, the plan will serve as a guide to planning efforts in the city if it is adopted.
Planning Director Dan Vriendt said the plan would likely return to council for a vote by its next meeting. Before then, the plan must be approved by the Municipal Planning Commission on Sept. 25 and then council's Planning Committee on Sept. 30.
Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Mur...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.