Oct. 13—Beckley Common Council voted Tuesday to declare an emergency demolition of a former medical lab at 227 Prince St., which the city owns.
Capt. Donald Morgan said that bolts in the building walls have gotten significantly worse since the spring.
"The roof materials have deteriorated and had been leaking for quite some time," said Morgan. He added that the moisture caused the wooden roof trusses inside the building to rot and sag and to put pressure on the walls.
He added that, during a spring inspection, he had noticed an interior floor had partly collapsed and was resting on a gas line. The city turned off utilities to the building then, Mayor Rob Rappold said.
The building will be demolished by Empire Salvage for $149,863, and Empire crews will also remove debris.
Empire had originally bid $62,000 to tear down the building in March. During a March meeting, Rappold had asked Council to vote to tear down the building, which the city had purchased three years earlier for about $111,000, with the hopes of having a parking lot, according to Ward 4 Councilman Kevin Price.
Rappold said code enforcement officers had told city officials the building was dangerous.
Council members tabled the motion in April, after five of them voted not to approve Empire's bid immediately and to instead walk through the building.
Ward 3 Councilman Robert Dunlap said last month that the five Council members had wanted to ensure that Council followed guidelines for the National Register of Historic Places, which requires that the city's Historic Landmarks Commission has an opportunity to weigh in on demolitions in the historic district.
Dunlap reported that they had also wanted to give investors time to come forward to buy the building, before making a decision to demolish it.
He added that those requirements have been satisfied.
Price reported in September that the building had deteriorated since the spring.
The mayor said the amended bid for the emergency demolition is $23,000 lower than the next lowest bid, which was placed by Reclaimed Inc. of Fairmont.
In other actions:
—Council passed on first reading an ordinance to amend city zoning ordinances regarding indoor self-storage facilities.
Rappold said that Morgan had notified city attorney Bill File that there is a need for the ordinance because of the "proliferation of such units around the city."
"We're beginning to see a number of these units being located within the City of Beckley," File reported. "Currently, we don't have any law on the books that regulates where they can be placed or what they can be used for."
The proposed ordinance aims to define self-storage facilities and storage containers. If passed, the new law would identify which zones are permitted to use or have the facilities. Indoor self-storage would be zoned B-1 and B-2, manufacturing; self-storage would be zoned B-1 and B-2 and would be conditional use and permitted use. The second reading and public hearing will be Tuesday, Oct. 26.
—Council passed on first reading an ordinance to permit the city to purchase 6.518 acres on New River Drive for $240,000, to relocate the headquarters of Beckley Sanitary Board. Rappold said BSB Manager Jeremiah Johnson had presented information on the purchase to Council during a workshop on Oct. 26. Rappold said the property is beside the Moose Club. Public hearing and second reading will be Oct. 26 during the regular meeting.
—City treasurer Billie Trump said a city Audit Committee considered proposals from audit firms to hire an auditor. The committee chose Ferrari and Associates, based on a prior good working relationship.
—Council approved a motion authorizing the City of Beckley to pledge to give the last $75,000 of payment on a Salvation Army headquarters that the nonprofit SA is building on Robert C. Byrd Drive. The one-time payment will come from the general fund and will require SA officials to give a financial report with historic fundraising data prior to the city giving the grant.
Ward I Councilman Tom Sopher said he is in favor of the grant.
"They do a good service," he said. "I think they need to be a little bit more vocal about themselves. It's a good gesture on the city's part to make an effort to pay that last $75,000."
Sopher told At-Large Councilwoman Sherrie Hunter that the current SA building on South Fayette Street is for sale.
—Council approved to give $43,000 from the general fund to the Lillian James Center in Beaver to purchase a new bus. Dunlap pointed out that the center is outside of city limits and asked if city residents are benefited.
Rappold and File said that they are.
Sopher said the charity trains people with disabilities and has a network of businesses that hires them. Hunter said the center has hosted summer camps for students with disabilities in the past.
Rappold said he has known about the agency for the last 50 years and that there are "few people I come across in this world" that he respects more than the late Lillian James and her mission for the center.
—Trick-or-treat generated a bit of squabbling among Rappold, File and Sopher. Rappold has proposed that Council officially establish the last Saturday in October as the evening for trick-or-treat.
The city attorney told the mayor that Council may not vote on the trick-or-treat date until Halloween 2021 has passed because the mayor has already declared that trick-or-treat for 2021 is Oct. 30. File said that, now, no formal action is required for 2021.
He said that Council must wait until next year to decide if Halloween will get an official, recurring observance day in the city.
"I know that's (trick-or-treat's) one hallmark of your fall activity," the mayor told File, then asked what he thought of the plan to set it for the last Saturday in October.
"If I have to keep my costume over the weekend, it costs a little more, but I think Saturday works well," File agreed.
Sopher asked if it is a national trend to set trick-or-treat for the last Saturday in October, and Rappold replied a number of other communities are doing it since it is more convenient for parents and kids.
Sopher was not convinced.
"We had Tailgate Halloween, and that was always on the last Saturday of the month," he countered. "It gets to be confusing when, for instance, Hallowen falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday or Friday, and we can't stop people from knocking on people's doors and asking for candy.
"I think we should take it year by year."
Rappold insisted that setting it for the last Saturday each month is a better plan.
"I think it will catch on," he said. "I think the parents will sign on pretty quickly and likely, Bill File and his group of trick-or-treaters will as well, as time goes on."
Sopher kept silent.
Trick-or-treat for 2021 is Saturday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Council must wait and decide after Halloween 2021 if there will be a recurring trick-or-treat day for future Halloweens.
—Hunter said the mayor is the grandfather of a new granddaughter, Quinn Adelaide, who was born Monday, weighing 7 pounds and 13 ounces. Quinn has the same first name as her great-grandfather, Quinn Barbera, she added later.
—Dr. Kristi Dumas of the city's Human Rights Commission has asked Council to declare South Fayette Street to be named Martin Luther King Jr. Way. File said the city is checking with state officials, since the road is part of W.Va. 3.
"I just want to make sure that that would be no objection, no legal reason, why that would create an issue," said File. "Other than that, I'm certainly prepared to go through with Dr. Dumas' request."
Source : https://news.yahoo.com/empire-salvage-demolish-227-prince-153300417.html1358