POINT PLEASANT — What has become an eyesore on Main Street will likely be coming down, and soon.
At this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, City Attorney R.F. Stein presented council with a tentative settlement agreement between the city and the owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet. Back in November 2011, a lawsuit was filed by Ferrell Properties, Inc., Chillicothe, Ohio, which owned the Wallpaper Outlet store that adjoined the old Franklin building owned by the city.
The suit alleges the building the Wallpaper Outlet resided in had been damaged by the old Franklin property due to neglect and also alleged the property is a nuisance. The suit was referred to the city’s insurance company and their attorneys who have been negotiating the settlement. Because the agreement is still tentative, no numbers, in terms of settlement amounts, have been released. However, at least some of these settlement funds will be used for the demolition of both buildings located in the 400 block of Main St.
The next step is to receive demolition bids so both parties can settle on an amount that each will contribute to the demolition. The owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet will retain the deed to his former property as part of the settlement. The structural stability of the parapet of the Franklin building has been questioned by some who fear it is in danger of falling. The building also has mold issues.
In terms of the unending saga of the Yeager property further up on Main Street, Stein said he’s contacted the municipal league as well as the city attorney in Huntington in regard to the process of condemning and tearing down dilapidated buildings. Stein said though the city has a process in place to tear these types of buildings down, he wanted to make sure that process was current from a legal standpoint. Stein said he would return to council with what he’s learned after more research on the matter — he said he was also waiting on a return phone call from Huntington’s city attorney.
In relation to a citizen asking about where the city stands on collecting municipal fees, Stein said he’d been working with staff at the water department and found at one time the city had $39,000 in outstanding municipal fees. At this time, there is around $7,500 out in municipal fees. Stein also presented council with a two-page list of those who owe these fees, and council gave him permission to pursue liens on those who have so far been uncooperative in paying these fees. Every month, residents are charged a $14 municipal fee and $1 fire protection fee for a total of $15 in municipal fees — most residences are billed for these fees on their monthly water bill.
After public hearings earlier in the night during which no comments were made, council approved readings on rezoning 225 N. Park Dr. from residential to business and created a loading and unloading zone on Sixth St. outside the Jackson County Development Center (JCDC). This loading and unloading zone will be during the hours of 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., and the ordinance says this zone will not apply to any new tenants should JCDC move out.
Council approved expending $8,000 for the annual Point Pleasant Regatta fireworks show on June 29. The city is using the same vendor as in previous years, but the price for the same show jumped from $7,000 to $8,000 from 2012. City council decided not to shorten the show and proceed with spending the extra money.
Council members were asked to set a date for an enforcement committee meeting which deals with dilapidated properties. Mayor Brian Billings presented council with a photo of a property on First St. with the window missing, as well as trash and a mattress on the front porch, saying city employees had recently went to remove this from the porch. Billings said there are more properties that need to be addressed which have become eyesores in the community.
Council agreed to accept a bid from Johnson Tree Trimming of Gallipolis, Ohio to remove two trees in an alleyway near the Jericho Inn which are leaning onto private property. The cost to remove the two trees, stumps and all, is $6,000.
Councilman Bob Rulen updated council on the work to the floodwall mandated by the federal government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Rulen was asked to get contractors together who’d submitted bids for piping work under the levee so that these contractors can meet with city officials before awarding a bid. The city has until November to get repairs done to pipes that run under the floodwall. After a video inspection, it was determined that a large chunk of one of these pipes is missing — pipe which was likely put in before the floodwall, and it’s anyone’s guess how long its needed repaired.
In the wake of vandalism at the riverfront park, Councilwoman Janet Hartley asked if the security cameras at the park were on 24 hours a day, with Billings and City Clerk Amber Tatterson confirming they are always on. Tatterson said because they were on, police officers were able to identify two juveniles who allegedly set a picnic table on fire at the park less than 24 hours after the arson occurred.
Councilman Allen Moran asked about the status of street light replacement in the 2100 Block of Lincoln Ave. with Billings saying the pole numbers were being passed to American Electric Power. Councilman Keith Sargent brought up the poor condition of the roads on Mt. Vernon between 21st and 22nd streets. Councilwoman Elaine Hunt also echoed Sargent’s sentiment, only she brought up the poor condition of 27th St., as well. Billings said 27th St. is scheduled to be paved after work is done on the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project, which will happen at least in part in that area. Councilman Rick Simpkins also brought up the poor drainage and paving conditions in Meadowbrook Dr.
Council members present at this week’s meeting were Hartley, Rulen, Councilwoman Linda Smith, Hunt, Simpkins, Sargent, Moran, Bob Doeffinger and Charles Towner.