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New Martinsville Hears Citizens’ Complaints

By Staff | Nov 6, 2018

New Martinsville City Council was confronted by citizens’ complaints on Monday, Nov. 5, at the city’s regular council meeting. Larry Dankmer, a 35-year resident of Hillside — in the Steelton section of town, presented pictures to council of damage to his landscaping and property. Dankmer claimed the damage is a direct result of runoff from his neighbor’s downspouts. He claimed the neighbor had diverted the water toward Dankmer’s landscaping, and it has cost time and expense.

Dankmer said the landscaping was done in 1996, and there had been no problems until his neighbor removed his downspouts from the storm drains. Dankmer claimed the diversion caused the mulch to be washed away and had created a muddy mess. Dankmer further stated he has now planted grass in the area, but there remains a problem with the water build up from a back porch. He said he believed his pictures proved his case, and he asked council and the city for help in the situation.

Dankmer also stated he has spoken with his neighbor about the problem and has even gone as far as to offer to help his neighbor run drain lines to the street. He feels there is tension now that could escalate, and he’s getting no cooperation.

Council offered to have the city building inspector review the area. It was noted by Dankmer and council that it is against code to divert storm water onto someone else’s property. There could be a citation issued, and a fine could be imposed. Dankmer seemed satisfied he had proved his point and agreed to work with the city to get the problem resolved.

Also coming before council was John Lasure of 640 Foundry St. Lasure stated he has lived at the location all of his life; he said his house is the last one before the industrial park, which is a dead end location. Lasure said with the increase of traffic from the oil and gas industry and others, his area is experiencing a lot of large truck traffic because of drivers who are lost due to signs along Rt. 2, which are deceiving. Lasure told about a tractor trailer driver who was lost and thought he was on Rt. 7. Lasure said another driver came there looking for the dog pound. Lasure said his neighbors have experienced some of the same problems.

Mayor Steve Bohrer told Lasure he needed to contact Randy Rush of the state road department for the signs on Rt.2.

Lasure also asked council to erect speed zone signs and a “Dead End” sign on Foundry Street. He further asked to have a mirror installed at the end of Urban Street, so motorists can see oncoming traffic. Mayor Bohrer and council agreed to the request and forwarded it to the street department.

Annie Ponikvar, a resident of 535 North Main St., told council she has an issue with a neighbor’s fire pit. She said her home and her neighbor’s home are very close together, and the neighbor has a fire pit on her deck, which sends smoke and debris toward Ponikvar’s bedroom windows — entering her home and causing breathing problems for Ponikvar’s 10-year-old daughter. Ponikvar said she has spoken to the neighbor on several occasions to no avail. Ponikvar stated she believes her neighbor is antagonizing, and it is a violation of the city nuisance law.

Ponikvar presented council with pictures, a video, and other evidence that the neighbor was not cooking or using the pit for heat. Ponikvar said the neighbor is doing it intentionally, and it is a health problem for Ponikvar’s daughter. Ponikvar showed council the breathing device and an inhaler her daughter uses. Ponikvar mentioned that in September, she and her boyfriend were cleaning around the house, winterizing, when the neighbor started burning paper and tearing it into small pieces so it would fly toward Ponikvar’s residence.

Ponikvar also told council that Councilman Ryan Yost had visited to survey the issue. She said the police had been contacted, as well as the fire chief.

Ponikvar was told by council that there is a nuisance law and there are regulations concerning what can be burned in the fire pits; council said it would look into the matter further.

A resident from the East side of Brooklyn complained of deplorable conditions that exist in her neighborhood. She said Brooklyn is at its worst. She complained about garbage strung about in yards and on the street. She said there are dilapidated buildings and houses, along with trailers with windows and doors missing.

The residence also complained about junk vehicle sand boats. Council and the mayor told the resident they are working on the problem. They said they had placed dumpsters in the area and had hauled away several tons of debris. They also told of a building that had been removed, and several trailers that had been cut up and removed. However, most of that work had been performed on the West side of Brooklyn. The resident was assured that the city will continue to make progress in the Brooklyn area. Mayor Bohrer told the resident it would get done if he had to do it himself.

Councilwomen Iris Isaacs apologized to council for a couple of procedural mistakes she had made at the previous meeting. She said she is working hard to do things right and will not make the same mistakes again. Mayor Bohrer assured her she has the support of his office and council.

Councilman Joel Potts read the bids received for the sale of a chipper truck. The top bidder was Jack Hayes with a bid of $500. Other bids received were for $250 and $200. The top bidder will be notified.

Councilman Steve Pallisco told council the city is still working on the Neubauer sewer project. He said workers will be laying pipe soon and should have it completed in a couple weeks. He stated the paving will have to wait until spring. Pallisco also spoke about the dust from the gravel yard. He said it is a major problem that he thinks he is going to tackle himself. He stated the trucks are not being tarped, and the dust from the loading of the high piles and off of the trucks is causing a health problem, even on Rt. 2. He said it’s not good to even drive with your windows down. Pallisco said the dust is dangerous to everyone, and he’s going to try to get it stopped.

Councilman Jeff Gieseke said the police department would soon be getting two new cruisers delivered. He also said the department will be advertising for policemen soon.

Councilman Joe Smith reported on the need to abide by the 9-11 mapping. He said the county has an ordinance requiring it, and he asked for all residents and businesses to comply with the ordinance. He mentioned it has been posted in the paper and on the local TV.

Councilman Ryan Yost reported the fire department has some new equipment which was paid for by grant money and will soon be delivered.

With no new or old business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.