WESTOVER — City Council approved the final reading of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance.
Mayor David Johnson invited Planning Commission Chair Michael Doughtery to explain the ordinance and take questions from council members during a public hearing prior to this week’s meeting.
First Ward councilmember Janice Goodwin and Third Ward councilmember Leonard Smith were not in attendance.
Doughtery said the ordinance is common in several municipalities and counties, including Morgantown and Monongalia County.
“We had no mechanism in our zoning code to allow someone to take a larger site and develop it in total, as opposed to developing each parcel, or dividing up each lot, [where people] looked at each lot and developed them individually,” he said. “That’s what this proposal does.
Doughtery said the change brought by adopting the ordinance would mean a three-step detailed approval process for anyone interested in applying. Developers would start with code enforcement, go to the Planning Commission and then to City Council.
Coucilmember Al Yocum wanted to know why this ordinance was needed.
“It’s to make it easier for someone to develop a large tract of property,” Doughtery said. “It’s the mechanism that’s been used. It’s very common in planning, very common in development.”
Yocum pointed out that the Gateway — where Triple S Harley-Davidson and other businesses are — went in without the ordinance.
“We had to create an entirely new zoning category for Gateway to let them do what they wanted to do,” Doughtery said. “We had to create new rules because we didn’t have this.”
Councilmember Edie Viola wanted to know about the specific property that brought this about.
Doughtery said there was none, but this was an ordinance for future properties to use.
“No one has talked to me,” he said. “I did not write this for any particular entity. … This was just to update our laws. We’ve been talking about this for three years, and I finally did it.”
Mayor David Johnson said he had told Viola about a particular property that he thought would be a good candidate for the ordinance, but it had not been discussed with the Planning Commission.
“This is not for a particular piece of property,” Johnson said. “It’s a tool for anybody that has a piece of property that would qualify for it to be able to use it.”
Johnson, Ralph Mullins and Steve Andryzcik voted in favor of the ordinance. Yocum and Viola voted no.
In other business:
Johnson said he hoped work on the Holland wall would begin this week.
Council unanimously approved the first reading of the Conditional Uses ordinance, allowing for requests to go to the city code enforcement office instead of the planning commission for paperwork and direction to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
Planning Commission members, Sharon Chapman, Michael Sharley and Gary Weber were reinstated.
Council voted unanimously to accept the street paving list, approved by MUB. The streets to be paved are Nebraska Avenue, Fairmont Drive from 1st to 5th, Lexington Street to Cleveland Avenue, Cleveland Avenue to Vincent, Monongahela Avenue from Bypass to Snider, Garrison Street, Morris Avenue and Adams Street from Short Street to the end of Kansas Street.