Council tables ordinance revisions

Proposed revisions to an ordinance regulating sidewalks,  solid waste disposal and nuisance conditions in the City of Huntington were tabled after a Huntington couple took issue with the new rules on sidewalks.

Dwight and Natalie Brautigam told members of the Huntington Common Council on Monday, Feb. 28, that a requirement that any new construction should include sidewalks.

The ordinance, the Brautigams argued, should retain the current option of filing an appeal with the Board of Public Works and Safety to be exempted from  that requirement. Dwight Brautigam currently serves on that board.

Natalie Brautigam said that she and her husband, who now live on Warren Street, plan to build a home at 1072 Zahn St., a vacant lot that was previously the site of a blighted house ordered demolished by the city.

The lot is the last property on a dead-end street, she said, and none of the other houses on that street have sidewalks. Complying with the proposed rule, she said, would result in “a sidewalk to nowhere.”

Council members seemed to be agreeable to retaining the option to appeal, noting that a new home on a currently vacant lot would result in additional taxes paid to the city.

“I don’t want to see something like this hold up development in the city,” council member Erin Covey said.

But Mayor Brooks Fetters pointed out that the reason an entire section of Zahn Street — as well as other areas in the city — have no sidewalks is that the city did not require their construction. The sidewalk requirement, he said, helps improve “the whole walkability of the city.”

Other proposed changes in the city ordinance would create a habitual offender category for city residents who violate the nuisance ordinance three times in a calendar year. A habitual offender could be fined $250.

The ordinance revisions were tabled until the council’s March 14 meting.

In other business, the council approved an additional appropriation of $370,000 to help pay for the Etna Avenue reconstruction project.

Anthony Goodnight, director of public works and engineering services, said utilities are currently being relocated along Etna Avenue. Street construction will begin in April or May, he said.