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Man asks council to revisit code violations

February 26, 2013
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

An Anmore man once again aired his grievances to city leaders at a Philippi City Council meeting, asking them to reconsider their decision regarding the alleged code violations of his sisters' neighbor in light of recent West Virginia State Police actions.

The state police issued three misdemeanor citations to the person for alleged offenses caught on a video camera in November. Trooper John Wyatt of the West Virginia State Police stated in a written complaint that the "complaintant had been to multiple agencies to file a complaint, however, felt nothing was being done."

The three citations were issued for idling, for having an unattended motor vehicle and for improper backing after Wyatt reviewed the recording that was taken by a security camera at the residence of Earlie Delaney's sister.

Delaney has two sisters who reside on Carter Avenue in the Mansfield Addition of Philippi. He alleges that their neighbor, who operates a trucking business, is in violation of three state codes and six city codes, one of which aggravates his sister's medical condition.

He first sought action from the City Council this past summer, and he has been speaking on behalf of his sisters at many City Council meetings since.

"They ought to go ahead and pass a code that all codes are null and void, or only enforced when they feel like it," Delaney said.

When the Philippi City Council met Feb. 19, Delaney asked for help again, speaking out against the violations that the neighbor allegedly has made involving his porch location and other concerns involving a 2003 Kenworth truck with a trailer. Delaney alleged that the neighbor's porch is on a city right-of-way, and that the neighbor did not obtain the proper permits to allow its placement there about two years ago.

Building inspector and code enforcement officer Bill Annon said the porch is technically on city property, and he has not yet found a permit on file that allows for the porch's location. He said the city retains copies of permits even after his are disposed of once 180 days have passed.

"I am, at this point in time, reviewing my records to see if and where these documents are," Annon said.

Delaney alleged that six city codes that are being violated, such as the weight of the truck on the back road, a noise ordinance, a permanent structure being built on city property, the inability of the city or neighbor to provide permits or variances that would allow for the structure, the operation of a business in a residential area, and the alleged double parking of the neighbor's truck about 12 feet into the dead-end street.

Delaney said the neighbor's truck produces noises that are so loud, they exacerbate his sister's trigeminal neuralgia, causing her to cringe in pain. He has provided a physician's documentation confirming his sister's condition and that the noises do cause pain.

When the truck starts, Delaney said his sister will play a radio to try to drown out the uncomfortable noise. Delaney said his sister was fined $70 for playing the radio, but the neighbor has not been fined for the loud noises of his truck idling for longer than 15 minutes at a time, whether it is during the day or night.

Police Chief Jeff Walters, who was not the chief at the time of the fine, confirmed that a citation had been issued to Delaney's sister. He could not confirm if it had been paid. He also confirmed that the neighbor has not been fined for the truck issues. He said the former police chief, Mitch Payne, used a decibel meter to determine how loud the noises of the truck were, and he found that they were within reasonable limitations. Walters could not confirm the exact decibel readings.

"Mr. Delaney filed a couple complaints, and I'm researching at this time to see if those complaints are valid," Walters said.

Mayor Jerry Mouser told Delaney that the council would review the statements he provided and would place him on the agenda if it decided to revisit the matter. At a previous meeting, it ruled that the neighbor could keep his truck on Corder Avenue and run or maintain the truck between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Delaney said he felt that the city might be favoring the neighbor's side.

"Why get up and do the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America when they're depriving my sister of the liberty of her property, then not giving her justice," Delaney said. "As far as I'm concerned, when they say the Pledge of Allegiance, they're just mouthing the words."

Mouser said the City Council is trying to find a workable compromise to the matter.

"The intent of city and council is not to favor either side," Mouser said. "It appears that we can't make either side satisfied."

Mouser said the issue was a neighbor dispute that was a matter for the civil court system. He said he believes the City Council has done all it can do.

"They're trying to be impartial, but it makes no difference if the laws are being broken," Delaney said.

During his time at the podium, Delaney said, "Is there not one of you council members who finds frustration and anger knowing that rule-followers, like my sister Beverly, who dare to complain, are treated with disdain, while rule-breakers are exempted, then left to enjoy the rewards of the wrong they do?"

The neighbor and his daughter, who also have previously spoken to the city about the issue, were in attendance of the council meeting, but did not speak again about the matter. Both refused to comment on the allegations.

 
 

 

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