Lewisburg Considers New Neighborhood

A packed agenda kept the Lewisburg City Council busy on Tuesday, July 20. A new neighborhood, ordinances, resolutions, American Rescue Plan funds, and a number of contracts were considered and approved by the council.

DNA Holdings LLC is a real estate company bringing more homes to Lewisburg. Council approved a preliminary plat for the new project just north of I-64, close to Northridge Drive. The planned neighborhood would bring 16 townhouses, 19 single-family dwellings, and a number of garden and patio homes to the city.

“We looked at this for a long time under the Planning Commission,” explained Councilmember John Little. “It’s been nine months from when we started. … They worked with us and we worked with them to figure this all out. I know these things, especially as we talk about water and other services, how difficult this stuff is for growth. How we deal with that so our systems aren’t being heavily taxed. I think this is a great thing for the city. It seems like they’re working really hard to make this thing beautiful and things like that are great, especially because there’s little development on that side of I-64. I applaud your efforts, these are the kind of things we want to see in our cities.

City Administrator Misty Hill noted that the Ascend WV program, paying remote workers to move to the state and Lewisburg from a private fund, was also interested in Lewisburg in part because of this type of growth.

“This was a big stakeholder for that [program], knowing that we’re growing,” Hill said. “I’m excited. There are some things we’re going to have to look at development-wise. We will need a timeline. Because we are trying to figure out our water plant and how to service the customers we have right now. That is one thing that will be presented to council soon, the plan of how this will be built.”

David Bostic, an officer of DNA Holdings LLC, spoke up, noting the very rough project timeline.

“We’ve actually already got the road work study and everything completed,” explained David Bostic, an officer of DNA Holdings. “We want to be wide open on construction in three to five months. Completion is probably going to be five to six years.”

The passage of the preliminary plat is not the only action considered by council — Ordinance 294 would change the zoning for 53.26 acres in Lewisburg from limited industrial to planned unit development.

The parcel of land is owned by DNA Holdings LLC, who applied for the zoning change. The ordinance was approved on first reading and goes on to second reading and a public hearing.

The preliminary plat of the neighborhood, with Northridge Drive running across the top. City Zoning Officer Marsha Cunningham explained the “purple [lots] are going to be garden and patio homes, the yellow/gold color on the top is going to be for 16 townhouses, the blue part is for 19 single-family dwellings.”

In other business:

— Ordinance 293 updates the City Code to conform with any law changes enacted by the West Virginia Legislature and city council, including passed revisions on the criminal code, updating definitions for emergency vehicles and electric bicycles, and more. Recorder Shannon Beatty noted this ordinance is typically done annually but was delayed due to COVID-19 last year. The ordinance passed first reading and will be further considered in a future meeting.

— Resolution 484 makes a revision to the coal severance fund budget for fiscal year 2021, directing the city to revise “prior to the expenditure or obligation of funds for which no appropriation or insufficient appropriation currently exists.” This resolution is required by the State Auditor’s office.

— Resolution 485 is the corporate authorization of Lewisburg, determining who can act as representatives with financial institutions for it. Two signatures are required from Mayor Beverly White, City Clerk Shannon Beatty, and Councilmember Arron Seams to open accounts, endorse checks, borrow money, deal with mortgage or pledge bills, and more. In addition, Treasurer Susan Honaker and City Manager Misty Hill are authorized only to inquire about an account.

— Ordinance 292 renews the city’s franchise agreement with Suddenlink/Altice. Its second reading was tabled by council.

— Council approved Hill to make a request for $1.58 million from the American Rescue Plan, which would go to the water infrastructure and plant project.

— A $0 change order for the sidewalk project near WVSOM’s entrance on Lee Street was approved by council, allowing the contractors to tie into the rebuilt sidewalk in front of the school. Roger Kennedy with Chapman Technical noted the project “was very close to substantial completion.”

— John Preston, after being approved by the county commission, was further approved to represent Lewisburg on the Public Service District Board on behalf of Lewisburg.

— A conditional use permit was issued for 332 Lafayette St, for a bed and breakfast with more than three rooms.

— A lease agreement with J.L. Massie Insurance was approved by council. Hill noted that renovations to the building were nearly complete. “We have completed all but one piece of trim and one light fixture in the renovation at the insurance building next door to city hall,” Hill said. “There was a lot of electrical wire under the carpet that people walked across every day, which makes me nervous. … There was no support system – they removed the staircase but did not tie into the I-beams under the floor. [The contractors] repaired that quite quickly.”

— A “not to exceed” amount of $6,500 annually over the next three years was approved for the Lewisburg Fire Department to have their hoses and ladders tested by Firecat Precision Service Testing.

— A contract with Mills Group LLC was renewed for HLC consulting for an hourly rate, not to exceed $8,000.

— Council celebrated the one-year anniversary of Officer Rigoberto Rodriguez, Jr. joining the Lewisburg Police Department.

— Approximately $750,000 of the CARES Act reimbursement must be quickly spent by council if the city is going to keep it. For more, see “Lewisburg Approves Estimated CARES Spending Plan” in the Monday, July 26, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.

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