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Committee Decisions reach Council

By Staff | Apr 20, 2015

Committee items were discussed amongst Town Council members at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Though not on the regular agenda, council members asked for further explanation regarding recent committee recommendations and discussion.

Council member David Rosen inquired about the Parks and Rec committee decision to purchase new bike racks.

As a “bike-able Shepherdstown,” is a priority under the 2014 Comprehensive Plan, Rosen requested that committee decisions to make purchases stop for review by the Shepherdstown Planning Commission.

Member Lori Robertson said the committee decided to buy single racks for meters to try out. Those cost approximately $100.

“Obviously bikes racks were a big part of what we were trying to do with the Comprehensive Plan, but appeal is important, too,” he said.

Member Karene Motivans asked if design was considered and coordination with Shepherd University in terms of aesthetics.

Robertson and Mayor clarified that larger racks have not been purchased and will match existing racks.

The council went on to discuss a Public Works issue. As any downtown resident experienced this winter, icy sidewalks along German Street posed a major hazard during multiple winter storms.

According to members the council, the issue originates with the Shepherdstown Streetscape project and a flaw in the design of sidewalk drainage systems.

Shepherdstown Streetscape was a $1 million downtown revitalization effort completed in 2009.

As council member Lori Robertson explained, the drains were made too narrow during the project, creating overflow and hazardous ice accumulation in the drains and along the sidewalks when temperatures dip.

During Public Works discussion of the issue, members mulled accountability for the issue, as the maintenance of sidewalks in the event of the inclement weather typically falls on the corresponding building/property owner.

Motivans questioned that standard as it pertains to the flawed drains.

“How’s that the owner’s responsibility?” Motivans asked.

“It was a flowed designed. The Town is the one that came up with the design,” Rosen seconded.

Rosen argued that the responsibility rest on the corporation to explore some sort of solution.

Though Mayor Auxer agreed, he asked the council to consider at what point the town hands over Streetscape and sidewalk maintenance to the public.

“It was an investment we made. It was a mistake that we made,” Motivans said.

The council ultimately decided to send this issue back to Public Works in order to discuss cost estimates for fixing the drains.

The nest Shepherdstown Public Works meeting is scheduled for May.

Planning Commission will meet this Monday, April 20 at 7 p.m.