BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon City Council on Thursday ratified a law intended to solve a months-long parking conflict that’s been brewing between residents living in the vicinity of West Virginia Wesleyan College and college students, staff and administrators.
Although the ordinance won’t be effective until Jan. 1, 2019, council on second and final reading unanimously approved Ordinance 430. The law establishes resident-only parking for periods of over two consecutive hours on certain sections of four streets in the area of West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The law’s function is to lessen the problem of college students parking in front of residents’ home for extended periods of time. It’s applicable to the sections of the following streets from South Florida to Meade Street: College Avenue, Barbour Street, Fayette Street and Pocahontas Street.
In essence, that means non-residents of those particular streets may not parking their vehicles for more than two consecutive hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The law isn’t applicable to evenings, weekends, holidays or any other day city council, by majority vote, opts to suspend it.
Mayor David McCauley noted the city had finally managed to craft a compromise between residents who’d complained about college students parking in front of their houses and the college administrators. Discussions about the problem and a potential solution have been ongoing since spring Dr. Tim Reese first broached the Consolidated Public Works Board about the dilemma.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I think everybody’s on board with this,” McCauley remarked. “We’ve managed to placate not only Dr. Tim Reese, but the neighborhood and West Virginia Wesleyan College.”
McCauley is the college’s legal counsel and a Wesleyan professor.
Signs will be placed to demarcate resident-only parking zones, and residents of the above-listed streets will be able to obtain a placard from city hall indicating they’re a resident in January 2019, when the ordinance goes into effect.
The penalty for violating the ordinance is a $25 ticket.
Councilman David Thomas asked if the ordinance addresses any of the requests from officials at the Upshur Parish House for additional handicapped parking and two-hour parking spaces.
McCauley said those requests weren’t discussed in the ordinance and that Parish House officials could continue to appeal to the Consolidated Public Works Board for help.
Councilwoman Mary Albaugh made a motion to approve the ordinance on final reading, which councilman Robbie Skinner seconded prior to passage.
In other news, council voted to expand the Stockert Youth and Community Center Board of Directors from 10 to 11 members, which would afford outgoing Upshur County commissioner Troy A. “Buddy” Brady a chance to potentially continue serving on the board after his commission term expires at the end of 2018, the mayor said.
McCauley noted Brady feels passionate about the SYCC’s role in the community and said a sizeable chunk of the money raised since the city revived its SYCC capital campaign to build a multi-purpose building/gymnasium was the result of Brady “knocking on doors” and appealing to donors.