Town council talks bench project, library board appointment
SHEPHERDSTOWN — A major portion of the Oct. 13 meeting for the Shepherdstown Town Council addressed concerns over the placement of benches from “The Spirit of Shepherdstown” Bench Project.
The benches created in the project, which was organized by Shepherdstown Shares, were required to be placed at a distance from curbs along German Street. Two bench placements — in front of Lost Dog Coffee and The Good Shop — were found to be in violation of those terms.
“The only mention of benches on a public sidewalk that we have, is a public works ordinance. There are no guidelines for benches in the public place,” said Shepherdstown Planning and Zoning Officer Andy Beall. “It puts the authority on the town council to place these benches.”
The bench in front of The Good Shop had taken the place of an unpainted wood bench. That unpainted wood bench, purchased by The Good Shop’s owners, had been moved to Princess Street, and could not be returned to its former location after its more visible successor was found to be in violation of the town’s bench placement specifications. In consideration of this unique circumstance, Shepherdstown Shares President Marianne Davis requested a variance be given for the shop’s new bench to remain in its location. However, a motion in favor of this variance made by Councilman Chris Stroech failed, as it received no second by another town council member.
“The issue I have with this whole thing, is that I’m afraid giving a variance for this bench gives a bad precedent. I can’t point to a precedent where these could be a good thing,” said Councilman Jim Ford.
As a result of this decision, the benches were required to be moved to new locations by Saturday.
The town council also approved the Shepherdstown Public Library’s newest trustee appointment. Chambers Lopez Strategies LLC CEO Lorena Chambers has used the library for much of her 15 years in Shepherdstown and will use her branding and marketing expertise to help the library. She is filling the trustee space vacated in March by Dr. Pia Peltola.
At the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the town council approved funding an official survey to determine the Rose Hill Cemetery boundaries, at a cost not to exceed $2,500.
“We have a finance committee recommendation. Rose Hill Cemetery board asked for assistance. Became 501 (c)3 organization recently. One of the issues they had when applying for grants, is that they did not have an accurate survey of the cemetery. Suggested providing financing of up to $2,500 so they could get a survey done and begin applying for grants.
“The Rose Hill Cemetery board asked for assistance,” said Mayor Jim Auxer, mentioning the board recently became a 501(c)3 organization. “One of the issues they had when applying for grants, is that they did not have an accurate survey of the cemetery. They suggested providing financing of up to $2,500, so they could get a survey done and begin applying for grants.”
The town council also announced that the Corporation of Shepherdstown website is in the beginning stages of being upgraded. In addition, Councilman Jim Ford has been appointed to be the town council Shepherdstown Visitors Center representative, replacing former Councilwoman Deb Tucker.