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Nitro reconsiders engineering proposal

By Bridget May

NITRO, W.Va. -- Nitro City Council reconsidered a proposal to enter into an agreement with Baker Engineering that would allow the city to use the firm for projects under the city's "master plan."

Officials previously rejected the proposal, but Mayor Dave Casebolt brought the matter before council to reconsider.

Casebolt explained the city bid out the master plan project to 12 engineering firms to come up with a 20-year master plan to make improvements throughout Nitro.

Baker Engineering was awarded the bid to design an overall plan that included improvements to the city's streetscape, Ridenour Lake, city parks and other parts of Nitro.

If the city enters into an agreement with Baker Engineering, the firm would simply assign a task number to smaller projects that fall under the master plan at a designated hourly rate that would simplify the bidding process for each project.

The agreement is not a contract and does not allow the company to begin billing the city, nor does it prevent the city from using other contractors.  The agreement only specifies time, material and hourly rates.

City ordinance requires city council to bid out projects costing more than $1,000. Council referred the matter to City Attorney Johnnie Brown for review.

In other business, plans to install a new marquee sign at Nitro elementary school have been stalled because the location of the sign does not adhere to the sight line zoning requirements.

Steve Boggs, a civil engineer, has two children who attend Nitro Elementary, and is working with other parents to get the sign installed.

He asked city council to approve a sight line variance to allow them install the new sign in the same location as the old one. But the Board of Zoning Appeals must first grant that variance.

City Recorder Rita Cox said the city's procedure requires a Class Two legal notice.

This means that the matter has to be advertised in the newspapers' legal notices on two separate occasions prior going before the Board of Zoning Appeals who will make a recommendation to council.

Boggs informed council that city council granted a variance for the original sign over 20 years ago.

Mayor Casebolt asked Brown to find out if the original variance could legally be extended to the new sign.

Council accepted a motion to allow the variance if the city attorney determines that the variance can be extended. If not, the matter will go before the Board of Zoning Appeals as soon as possible.

Casebolt said the city has to make sure that it does thing the right way because if an exception were made council would be "opening the door up" for anyone who wanted to circumvent the law.

In other business, council voted to accept the donation of property on DuPont Avenue from Sam and Rebecca Simpson to be used by the city as a park, green space, or dog park, with the provision that the name for the space will include the name "Simpson."

Council also:

* Referred a proposal by Chris Moran to the Parks and Recreation committee to allow non-motorized vehicles on Ridenour Lake.

* Referred a proposal for a 3-D archery target range at Ridenour Lake.

* Accepted a bid from Lowe's to repair the roof of the pavilion at city park in the amount of $3,300.

* Accepted a bid from Lowe's to replace the roofs on shelters 1, 2, and 3 in the amount of $2,803 at Ridenour, less a 5 percent discount, to be paid out of Hotel/Motel tax money.

* Appointed Renee Graves to the Planning Commission.

* Accepted a recommendation to place an ad in the newspaper to sell or lease the old A-1 Carpet building.


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