St. Albans City Council has given preliminary approval to a plan to re-divide the property known as The Woman's Club into three parcels.
The Woman's Club, which had rented the property at 805 Kanawha Terrace, recently dissolved. The property is currently divided into two tracts.
Councilman Lee Roberts presented the petition to re-subdivide the property on behalf of the owners, Charles Skinner, Perry Martin and Carol Lawson. The petition was approved by unanimous voice vote. The change will take effect if it is passes a second reading at the next council meeting, which is scheduled June 17.
In other action, council gave final approval to a new article of city code that requires the registration of vacant buildings and assesses fees of $200 to $1,500 on owners of buildings left vacant for long periods.
Charles Roberts, the city's zoning officer and building official, said the city currently has a list of 76 vacant structures. With the new ordinance, he said, "either people are going to register them, take them down or maintain them."
Mayor Dick Callaway, president of the West Virginia Municipal League, said the ordinance came from the state "home rule" pilot project. He said the Legislature decided to make the ordinance available to all of the cities in the state that want to adopt it.
"As you know, we have a problem, as do other communities, with houses that have been abandoned and fallen into disrepair," Callaway said. "We can now get these properties registered, bring some pressure toward getting these properties addressed. This is a good step forward."
The proposal, which was read for a second time, passed by unanimous voice vote and now becomes city law.
Police Chief Mike Matthews reported that the city's special unit, a plainclothes group of three officers, had 81 investigative activities in May. Callaway said, "We're very happy with that."
Councilman John Boles Jr., chairman of the Finance Committee, moved that current invoices of $7,715 be paid and moved that a $6,500 invoice from Bayliss & Ramey Inc. be paid for repairs to the street signal at the intersection of Kanawha Terrace and B Street. Both motions were approved by unanimous voice vote.
During a public comment period, resident David Deane of 32 Pinewood Circle complained that he rented Shelter No. 3 at City Park for $53 and told several city employees that "the N-word was written on the main support beam," but nothing was done. Deane said that on the day he was to use the shelter, the graffiti was still there, the electricity was off, a tree limb was down across the road, and a portion of the handrail between the shelter and the restroom was missing.
Deane said he was offered a refund and promised a meeting with Mayor Callaway but he hasn't got his money back and didn't get the meeting.
Callaway told Deane his money will be refunded and "we'll look into see what happened and get back with you."
Steve Perry of 118 Chiles St., a member of St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, thanked council for helping pay for the widening of Skinner Drive and the installation of new drainage.