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Westover Council pushes annexation vote, taps Region VI to run Holland Avenue work

WESTOVER — At the request of Mayor Dave Johnson, Westover City Council opted Monday to table, or set aside, a vote finalizing annexation of 24.95 acres off DuPont Road, including Corwin Place and Horizon View.

“I had a couple issues with this last week while I was working on it. There’s some parcel information that I still haven’t got,” Johnson said, asking council to move its second vote on the ordinance of annexation to its first meeting of 2022.

Council passed the ordinance on first reading during its Dec. 6 meeting, which, Westover resident Frank Huy attests, was improper.

“This body had no lawful authority to even bring the annexation of Corwin Place to a vote,” Huy said, explaining that he intends to ask the Monongalia County Prosecutor’s Office and the West Virginia Bar Association to look into the matter.

The annexation is by petition, meaning  brought with the blessing of a majority of freeholders in the territory to be annexed.

Following the meeting, Huy alleged the city never received a request from those property owners and doesn’t have the documentation indicating their support. 

Westover City Attorney Tim Stranko said the claim that council’s initial annexation vote is evidence of corruption is “moronic.”

“We had a first reading, which is nothing. It doesn’t mean anything. Enactment is the second reading,” Stranko said. “The first reading council said ‘Yes, we’re interested in doing this,’ and gave the mayor a bunch of tasks to take care of before they would consider on second reading. He’s not done with that, so they haven’t done the second reading.”

In other Westover news, the city will tap Region VI Planning and Development Council to administer an overhaul of Holland Avenue.

The city plans to allocate all of its $1.74 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to address the stormwater and sanitary sewer issues undercutting the thoroughfare.

It’s hoped, however, that funds from the recently enacted federal infrastructure bill can be secured to expand the project beyond water issues and a new road surface to include amenities like lighting and sidewalks

To that end, Stranko recommended council direct Region VI to advertise for a project engineer using a more broad project definition, which it did.

“It gives us more latitude going forward,” Stranko said. “If, in the end, you want to spend as little money as possible and make the project as limited as possible, that works, too. But let’s not box ourselves in.”

Lastly, council voted to adopt two ordinances that will permit beekeeping within the city, with conditional use approval.

The first removed apiaries from the list of prohibited uses within the city’s residential zoning districts and the second altered the city’s zoning table to allow apiaries within the R-1, R-2 and Industrial districts.

Shawna Cross, a city resident and beekeeper who helped spur the change, thanked council for its consideration.

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