Buckhannon passes junk ordinance

Buckhannon City Council unanimously approved a junk storage ordinance on its final reading Tuesday following a public hearing in which no residents offered any comments.

The ordinance which regulates the outdoor storage of “junk, rubbish, clutter, litter or debris” on personal properties will become effective on July 19.

The goal of this ordinance is to “maintain a clean, wholesome and attractive environment, particularly in the City of Buckhannon’s residential areas.” The passage of the ordinance may also have an affect on the “general health, safety and welfare of Buckhannon’s citizens; positive and progressive growth of the community; and maximizing real property values.”

City Attorney David McCauley said that Buckhannon could not regulate the storage of “junk items” within an enclosed porch because it cannot control the storage of items within the home. He said that a railing that lines a porch is not considered an enclosed structure. Enclosed structures are covered by a roof and surrounded on all sides from top to bottom by walls, glass or wire or mesh screens.

Members of City Council said that they received comments regarding the ordinance and have read or heard criticism of the ordinance on web sites like Facebook or Topix, yet no one spoke out on the matter Tuesday evening.

Councilman John Waltz said that there are ways for the public to get involved in the decision-making process. Council members said that they listen to public concern when it is voiced, and that it does make a difference in their final decisions.

“There are openings on boards and places where we need folks to serve where you can get involved in things,” Waltz said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

– McCauley introduced the draft of another ordinance which would establish residency requirements for paid public safety personnel, including police officers and firefighters, to reside within 10 road miles of the Public Safety Complex in downtown Buckhannon.

The ordinance could appear at the July 2 meeting for its first reading. If passed on first reading, the second and final reading could occur on July 18.

– Councilman Dave Thomas cautioned the public to be wary of suspicious telephone charity requests. If anyone is suspicious of a caller requesting a charity donation, they may research the charity on the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.wv.gov.

-City Council met on Tuesday rather than its usual meeting day of Thursday, which is West Virginia Day.

Regarding the 150th anniversary of the creation of the state of West Virginia, Councilman Tom O’Neill said, “Here’s to 150 more.”

Buckhannon City Council will meet again at 7 p.m. on July 2 at City Hall. In observance of Independence Day, another Thursday holiday, Council opted to reschedule its regular meeting instead of canceling it.