Residents complain about storage facility

WEST LOGAN — Two residents expressed their concerns regarding a proposed outdoor storage business coming to West Logan at the Monday evening town council meeting. Town Hall was one of the buildings which had electrical power in the wake of a sudden storm that left many residents of the town in darkness from 3 p.m. on that evening.

Larry Altizer spoke first, saying about an empty lot near 3rd Avenue and Route 10 which he had heard was to become an outdoor storage business for heavy machinery.

Altizer and Tom Fortune said they worried the business would have the appearance of a junk yard.

Altizer said he thought that part of the neighborhood was zoned as a residential area and felt the proposed new businesses owner could have placed it across the road where an indoor storage structure was already located.

West Logan Mayor Darren Akers said that the town did not technically have zoning regulations for separation of business and residential areas, only prohibitions on sales of alcohol and gambling. “Nobody ever foresaw the possibility of a storage facility in town,” he said.

Altizer said he felt the town needed zoning ordinances.

Akers said that years before, nobody had considered such an issue.

“If we were to adopt a zoning ordinance at this time, I don’t think it could stop an existing business because you cannot make it retroactive,” the mayor said. The town’s attorney, Steve Wolfe agreed.

Tom Fortune said he was disappointed by the whole matter and noted he had cut the grass on that lot for 30 years as it was next to his property.

“There is nothing on the books saying you can or cannot do something like that,” noted Town Clerk Mark Mareske.

“I hate this situation,” Mayor Akers said. “Maybe the town can write a letter to the property owner making them aware to the community concerns.”

Akers said that if such a business did go in place he would hope the owners would put up a privacy fence for two reasons — for appearances and to avoid making such a business the target of opportunity for every passing thief on the roadside.

Wolfe discussed the problem of two local businesses who have not paid their required Business and Occupation Taxes to the town of West Logan. Wolfe noted that several businesses had been contacted by letter notifying them that they owed the municipality money for B&O taxes. Wolfe said some had complied but he had not heard anything back from Empire Engineering. Mareske noted the town had not heard back from the Mountain Trail Inn either.

Wolfe said he recommended turning the matter over to the West Virginia Municipal League which has a program to collect outstanding debts owed to towns.

“They take a percentage of the recovered monies,” Wolfe said. “But their program is set up to assist towns that have this problem.”

“That is fine with me,” Akers said.

Akers discussed the problem of abandoned garages in town, which have become a safety hazard as well as a nuisance. The mayor noted that such things as abandoned structures and cars have become an eyesore and problem over the years and said that Ray Perry, the building code enforcement officer for the neighboring city of Logan, has been working with the Logan County Commission on eliminating dilapidated structures in town and elsewhere.

“He said we need to get an ordinance passed that would authorize him to condemn such structures and follow the same guidelines as the county. Several years ago we agreed to go along with the county’s recommendations on this problem,” Akers said.

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