A grievance between neighbors, referred to by some as a modern-day Hatfield and McCoy dispute, has left Philippi City Council with the responsibility of deciding a course of action.
Council met in special session Tuesday to allow both parties to share their side of the story in hopes that the issue could be resolved. However, after hearing each family make statements and also listening to reports from others in the audience, the council decided to conduct a 30-day investigation before making a final decision.
"I just think maybe we need to study what we have in front of us," Councilman Ed Larry said.
The Delaney family of Mansfield had previously brought a complaint before council about their neighbor, Stuart Jack, whom they claim is breaking city and state ordinances and may also be jeopardizing the health of Debbie Delaney.
Beverly Delaney said the large diesel truck owned by Jack produces fumes she and her family can smell strongly at the residence of her sister, Debbie.
"I have no scientific data to say how many fumes come inside your house," Philippi Mayor C. Jerry Mouser said.
According to Wayne Proudfoot, who supported Jack, trucks don't emit any more fumes than school buses operating on diesel. More than one member of the audience said they have watched the fumes come out of the vehicle go straight up over the residences. Multiple truckers insisted they can't even smell the fumes in closer proximity to their trucks than the Delaney residence is to Jack's truck.
According to Earlie Delaney, a concerned brother of Debbie Delaney, the worst time for a truck to produce pollution is when it's idling. He said trucks aren't designed to idle.
"Just because you can't see them (fumes) doesn't mean you can't smell them," Beverly Delaney said.
Also, Beverly Delaney has said the truck has frequently been left idling as early as 4 a.m., causing loud, disturbing noises that are detrimental to her sister's health because of her medical condition.
A letter from Debby Delaney's physician stated "the initial starting of the engine, the long periods of idling, the fumes and the loud maintenance in such a close proximity to her home is detrimental to her health and has and still causes exacerbation of her already severe pain."
Jack claimed that this has never been an issue, saying he has lived in the area for years. An audience member who spoke claimed that he believes the issue is a "personal vendetta" against the truck driver.
The Delaneys said that it has been an issue for many years, but when Debbie Delaney's health changed, she and her family decided to pursue action. The best solution to the problem, according to the Delaney family, is to remove Jack's truck from the neighborhood and provide him an alternative storage location.
Jack said that by law, he has to let the truck idle so that air can flow through the workings of the truck for safety reasons, and he has to log each time that he does so.
Many truck drivers attended the council meeting and were given the opportunity to speak.
Some of the truckers said this is their livelihood, and they've been shooed from alternative parking locations, including Sheetz at Philippi. Some had been in the trucking business for more than 15 years.
According to Earlie Delaney, deliveries made by trucks would not be stopped by what he and his family are asking. The Delaneys want Jack's truck to be stored elsewhere.
"Can't somebody come up with something to help," Beverly Delaney said, adding that she took the presence of the other truckers as a "personal attack" and was not aware that they would attend the meeting. She said the meeting strayed from the issue, which was only with Jack and not the other truckers.
Councilman John Green said that the issue isn't something council usually deals with and "should be settled and forgot about. We aren't supposed to hold court."
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.