Marlinton approves variance for Snak Shak expansion
The little restaurant in the Greenbrier Building has become a hit and the proprietors want to make it an even bigger hit.
Kenneth J. Gibson, owner of the Snak Shak on Third Avenue, wants to expand the restaurant to serve up to 66 customers. In order to expand the restaurant, he needs to install a ventilation fan on the back of the building that would overhang a town alleyway by 10 inches, 13 feet off the ground.
Gibson appeared at Marlinton council on January 12 to request a variance to install the fan.
"We want to expand our business and possibly create a few more jobs," he told the council.
Gibson said building inspector Dick Groseclose had reviewed the plans and had no problem with them.
Councilmember Norris Long said he was concerned that large trucks would not be able to pass through the alleyway without hitting the fan.
"That's one of our alleyways that's no wider than 10 feet," he said. "The buildings are built up to the edge on both sides."
Mayor Dennis Driscoll said large trucks generally don't use the alleyway because of the sharp turn.
"Nobody could, probably, drive through there because you couldn't make the turn," he said.
After a brief discussion, the council approved the variance 3-2, with councilmembers Long and Louise Barnisky opposed. Recorder Robin Mutscheller was not present.
During the mayor's report, Driscoll reported that cold weather had hampered but not halted continuing work on the town's sewer and water systems.
A sewage lift station has been repaired on First Avenue. All new stormwater drains have been installed. Six new gate valves have been installed at the sewage plant which will prevent nearly 300,000 gallons of partially treated water from leaking back into the sewer system every week.
The mayor reported that town crews worked four days on snow removal during and after the heavy snow storm of December 18 and 19. Due to the state of emergency, Driscoll submitted a list of expenses totaling $23,000 to County Emergency Services, which will ultimately be sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for reimbursement. The mayor was unsure how much of the expense would be reimbursed.
On January 14, Governor Manchin requested a 30-day waiver of the requirement to apply for a federal disaster declaration to President Obama, while officials with FEMA and the Stateﾒs Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management continue to review the costs that may be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.
Long praised town employees for their hard work during the storm.
"Kudos to the contractors and the town crew for the snow removal," he said.
Councilmember Loretta Malcomb reported that she had spoken with woodworkers at Pocahontas Woods about repair of the large wooden planters along Main Street. Malcomb, Barnisky and local gardening expert Arol Wulfing serve on a committee to investigate repair of the planters. The woodworkers told her they could repair one planter at a time, but no price had been negotiated. Malcomb said the committee would continue to seek a solution.
Volunteers from Zendik Farm, on Beaver Creek Road, maintain the planters during warm weather months.
The council approved payment of current invoices for the ongoing stormwater / sewage system improvement project. $143,753.37 was authorized to Kanawha Stone for construction work and $33,150 was authorized to Hannah Engineering for design work. An additional $9,900 was authorized to Hannah from a project contingency fund.
The council went into executive session to "review and act on matters relating to the Department of Environmental Protection regulations which may include legal matters as well as other items."
Pocahontas Times reporter Geoff Hamill told the council that the proffered reason did not appear to be a legal basis for an executive session.
"Without having an attorney here, I can't tell," said the mayor.
"As far as I know, if we are discussing legal matters or the beginning of legal matters, it is allowed under the executive meetings," he added.
Long moved to go into executive session and council member Joe Smith seconded, which the council passed, 5-0.
The public and press were ordered out of council chambers, while contractor DeWayne Hannah and his executive aide remained for secret discussions.
At the conclusion of the executive session, Long made the following motion:
"In regards to our executive session dealing with matters relating to the Department of Environmental Protection and legal matters therein, I make a motion that we authorize DeWayne Hannah as our engineer and contact Steve Hunter as an attorney to develop a letter to the DEP and develop a necessary plan as required by their facility."
"I also move that a letter for the mayor's signature, requesting an extension from DEP to the time requirements involved with this activity."
The council did not identify any details about "this activity," unanimously approved the measure and quickly adjourned.
See the article accompanying this story for further information on the executive session, the motion following the executive session and the West Virginia Open Meetings Act.
The next meeting of the Marlinton council is scheduled for February 10, 7 p.m., at the Municipal Building on 2nd Avenue.