Bellaire code enforcer reporting progress
By MIKE HUGHES
Times Leader News Editor
BELLAIRE – New Bellaire Code Enforcer Bill Swoyer spoke before village council Thursday and gave an update on what he’s been able to accomplish before officially taking over the position July 1.
Swoyer noted that two businesses in town were doing work without building permits. Both situations have been rectified.
In addition, he’s issued 10 residential permits.
He’s also issued various 72-hour citations for issues ranging from high weeds to grass. Of the 12, eight have already been squared away.
Swoyer has also updated the residential inspection form. He touched on it briefly, which prompted a discussion about rental properties.
“How are you going to determine if a house is empty,” Councilman Jim Piatt asked.
Swoyer noted that he’s using a variety of avenues, from rental signs and ads in The Times Leader and Green Tab to utilizing Facebook.
There’s also a time frame now on how long an inspection is good for.
Swoyer stated that if he comes in to do an inspection and a tenant doesn’t move in within 60 days, another inspection will need to be performed before the property can be rented.
Along the same lines, the village’s building permits have been updated. In the past, the permits stated work must begin within six months but no completion date was given. Now, once initiated, building work must be completed within 60 days. If not, another building permit must be obtained.
Mayor Vince DiFabrizio stated that a letter should be drafted and sent to all landlords that, if they rent out their property without inspection, they will be cited into mayor’s court.
The village has its new code enforcer. It now must find a zoning inspector.
Mike Wallace accepted the position roughly six months ago and has been performing his duties ever since. He even suggested restructured his pay to make it easier on the village.
However, Wallace didn’t agree with the hiring of the code enforcer and tendered his resignation.
That letter was read before council Thursday.
Wallace stated that he needed the cooperation of a knowledgeable and experienced code enforcement person to effectively do his job.
Wallace went on to write that “at your June 20 council meeting, you chose a person who cannot and will not work within this capacity. I feel the candidate lacks knowledge, experience and time required. I submit my resignation as zoning inspector.”
– Resident Dan Brown sought and was approved for use of the village park for Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 to hold the Bellaire Zombie-Fest.
Similar in function to the zombie event successfully held in Moundsville, there will be: live entertainment, vendors, a car show, zombie walk, a staged Thriller dance, giveaways and other prizes. Zombie movies will also be shown at dusk.
Councilman Jim Piatt was for the idea, nothing that he wanted to see insurance papers depicting coverage that Brown has purchased for the event. Brown said that wouldn’t be an issue.
Approval was granted 4-1.
– Councilmen Jim Williams reported that the utility committee, which has met every Tuesday in recent weeks, is making progress getting delinquent bills squared away with the village’s customers.
“We have processed over 50 cases,” Williams said. “We’ve been taking the various problems and assigning them numbers so we can process this a little better.”
Williams noted that as the program continues, there should be an increase seen in revenue for the water department.
– Council passed ordinance No. 2013-07, conveying .662 acres of property in the village’s commerce park to the Belmont County Port Authority for the purpose of marketing the parcel for economic growth. It passed 3-2, with Councilmen Williams and Josh Meyer casting the no votes.
– Approval was given to hold a 5K walk in honor of Ashley Flanagan, who passed away in April 2012. Funds will be raised to create a scholarship, as well as to make a donation to Life Bank. The date hasn’t been finalized but was targeted in September, with the walk beginning and ending at Flanagan’s Pub.
– A second village cleanup has been slated for Saturday, Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. until noon. Dumpsters will again be available at the village garage for residents.
– Councilwoman Lou Ann Bennett was happy to report that papers have been signed on the former location of Hap’s bar and that the building will be renovated. She didn’t give any further details.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org