Four houses are better than one
Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity CEO and Executive Director Michelle Connor gave an update during the September 11 Durbin Town Council meeting on progress the organization has made in town.
Habitat purchased a plot of land in Durbin in July and began the demolition of a house in August. The demolition will make way for new houses to be built by Habitat volunteers. Connor presented councilmembers with a plat for the division of the lot.
“The demo is 75 percent complete on the house that the town had condemned,” Connor said. “We would like to propose that the property be able to be subdivided for somewhat equal size lots to allow us to construct three new homes on the property. We believe four equal size lots would be a better utilization of the property than the narrow lot structure.”
A second house that is on the property will be refurbished for use and will be joined by three new houses if the plan is approved by council.
“Our plan is to preserve the existing white house that’s on the property and that we would rehab that house for a family in need,” Connor said. “During the course of the next year or maybe two years, we would use that as a construction office or possibly volunteer housing. It would give us the ability to have on-site water and those amenities on the site during construction of the three houses.”
The town ordinance on building states that lots may only have one dwelling, which is contrary to what Habitat has proposed.
Councilmember Mike Vance and mayor Donald Peck both voiced their concerns over splitting the lot and going against the town ordinance.
Connor explained that the property purchased by Habitat is already split into lots that are too narrow for the proposal. She said Habitat is asking for the lots to be altered and be divided into four equal sizes.
Connor said it might be possible to apply for a variance to the ordinance in order to split the lots, but it would not change the ordinance permanently.
After discussion, council agreed to have town attorney Martin Saffer look at the plat and discuss the best course of action.
• Vance said Cheryl McCullough has said she is interested in the town judge position. Council discussed meeting with McCullough to review the duties of town judge and to determine if she needs any training.
• Peck reported that town resident Pete Whiteis has paid for several years to keep the town website, www.durbin wv.com active. Council approved to reimburse Whiteis for his assistance with the website.
• Council scheduled a work session to discuss insurance coverage on the town hall building. Peck said the insurance does not cover much and suggested council look into more coverage.
• Council approved business licenses and approved an advertisement explaining the business license policy for the town of Durbin. Peck said any business, despite location, must have a town business license if it is working in the town limits.
Durbin Town Council meets the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.