The June Hurricane City Council meeting was brought to order by Colton Brown, an autistic 11-year-old, hammering the gavel for Mayor Scott Edwards. Colton was given the honor of opening the meeting because his grandma, Carrie Varney Huff, contacted Edwards earlier this spring and suggested that the City conduct a First Responder Meet & Greet for kids with autism. Edwards liked the idea and has a Meet & Greet scheduled at the Fire Station on Thursday, June 9. The Mayor said that the Meet & Greet will become an annual event that will be held during April (National Autism Awareness Month) in future years.
Following the call to order, Council recognized Hurricane High School junior Lily Haught for her performance at this year’s State Track and Field Meet in Charleston. She won both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdle races.
The Monday, June 6 meeting was much longer than most monthly meetings. The session was extended by public comment concerning a request for a variance to operate a business in a residence at 1113 Fieldcrest Drive and a rezoning request for property located at 2509 Montana Avenue.
Council determined that it needed more information about the protective covenants that are in effect and tabled the request by Christy Wolfe, a professional massage therapist, for a variance to operate a spa from her home. Wolfe’s neighbors, testifying in support of the variance, stated that the deeds to their respective properties made no mention of a protective covenant which would preclude Council from granting the variance. There is, however, a protective covenant which would forbid a business to operate from a residence which applies to a different section of the Moss Creek Subdivision of which Fieldcrest Drive is a part, which section was developed at a later date than was Fieldcrest Drive. The matter is slated to be reconsidered at the July council meeting.
Council rejected the recommendation of the Hurricane Planning Commission to rezone the Montana Avenue property from R-1 to R-2. Multi-family structures are allowed in R-2 zones but not in R-1 zones. The Planning Commission recommended the rezoning after viewing proposed plans for the multi-family dwellings. A number of residents expressed concern that the rezoning would result in increased traffic and water runoff problems. Mayor Edwards stated that R-2 zoning is more restrictive in that on-street parking is not allowed. Edwards said that water runoff plans must be approved before any construction can begin. The Mayor also noted that any plan presented to the Planning Commission may be changed at a later date provided that it meets R-2 requirements. The Council voted, 4-1, to reject the zoning change.
In other business, Council approved the annexation of 7.59 acres located between the CSX tracks and property to the rear of Wendy’s on Teays Valley Road owned by Allen Bell. Bell informed the City that he intends to build an upscale townhouse community which includes a pool. Bell recently purchased the property from Kylene Dunlap Brown.
While all requests for annexation must be approved by the Putnam County Commission, the county commission is required, by law, to grant all requests by individual property owners which have been approved by a municipality.
Prior to the conduct of business, Marketing & Development Manager Amanda Ramey provided Council with an update on the Sprayground at City Park. Ramey stated that the Memorial Day weekend opening exceeded expectations. She reported that concession stand sales six times greater than at the same time last year. Ramey said that there will be a special celebration on June 14, the ten year anniversary of the opening of the Sprayground in which children will be treated to a free iced drink from Rocky’s World Food Truck.
Ramey stated that the City expects a heavy influx of visitors to Hurricane and City Park on September 10 for the area’s first 100K race. The event will utilize the Meeks Mountain Trail system at the park. Mayor Edwards stated that high first place cash prize is attracting interest from states more than 300 miles away.
Ramey also announced that Yoyogi’s, an Asian food outlet, will be opening at Hurricane Market Place adjacent to Walmart in the near future. Ribbon cutting plans are in the works.
Council appointed Greg Lunsford to a three-year term on the Hurricane Water Board. Council also approved the appointment of Chris Pauley to fill out the term of recently deceased Dave Kelley on the Hurricane Building Commission.
Mayor Edwards announced that city offices will be closed on Monday, June 20, for West Virginia’s birthday observance. Independence Day celebration will be on Monday, July 4th, with a 2:00 p.m. parade followed by a slew of activities at City Park. Fireworks will be let off from Water Tank Hill at 10:00 p.m.
The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday, July 5, at 6:30 p.m.