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Ordinance banning parking along parade routes could go into effect before Strawberry Festival

BUCKHANNON – A new city ordinance that prohibits on-street parking along parade routes is on track to go into effect prior to some of the largest parades marching into town during the 2022 West Virginia Strawberry Festival.

At its Feb. 3 meeting, Buckhannon City Council approved the second reading of Ordinance 454, which prohibits motor vehicles from parking along parade routes during authorized parades and other processions within the city. Vehicles parked along parade routes during designated parades may be towed – and their owners eventually fined – under the new municipal law.

Council passed the first reading at its Jan. 20 meeting, and a third reading, possible passage and adoption are scheduled for council’s next regular meeting Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. That means the ordinance will go into effect March 19 – about two months before the Strawberry Festival gets underway.

After receiving input from Buckhannon police chief Matt Gregory, mayor Robbie Skinner clarified the ordinance applies just to the parade route and not to areas where participants line up for processions.

“There was some discussion last time about what we would enforce along the lineup route,” Skinner said. “It seems like we should just stick to the parade route as it’s actually [mapped out] and not try to provide any enforcement to the lineup. I wanted to make sure to clarify this for the public’s benefit if we just stay with an assembled parade route. The ordinance doesn’t need to be changed or altered to include that specification.”

The ordinance is only applicable one hour prior to any parade and “ends upon the later of the scheduled or actual time” the event concludes. In addition to towing offending vehicles, the ordinance will be enforced like other parking violations in the city, including the issuance of two warnings prior to a fine.

Councilwoman Shelia Lewis-Sines made a motion to approve the law on second reading, which councilman David Thomas seconded prior to it passing unanimously.

In other city news, public works director Jerry Arnold said he met with the city’s consulting engineers, Potesta & Associates, two weeks ago to walk Jawbone Run drainage way, and firm engineers discovered an obstruction within the pipes.

“They’re going to be working up some hydrology [studies] of Jawbone, and they did find an obstruction in one of the pipes, so we’re going to do some more investigation by probably sending cameras down the lines and doing a little more [inspection] in the actual pipes of Jawbone Run.

City officials asked engineers to study Jawbone Run after several residents along Myrna, Gum and Boggess streets attended a September 2021 council meeting to request the city’s help in reducing damage to their property along the creek.

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