March 6, 2013
City ‘begrudgingly' grants Jamestown developer extension

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Municipal Planning Commission members "begrudgingly" granted developer George Neilan a few months to fix erosion issues at his stalled addition to the Jamestown subdivision.

But Neilan will have to start over with a new application for a preliminary plat permit in order to resume work on the subdivision's Phase 4, after he resolves a dispute with the Charleston Sanitary Board over sewer lines.

Also Wednesday, planning commissioners approved site plans for a new 60,000-square-foot building at Northgate Business Park. The three-story structure will serve as the new eastern region home of Energy Corporation of America, replacing its current home at the Energy Center on 56th Street in Kanawha City.

Despite being notified that his original 2005 permit for Phase 4 expired Dec. 31 last year after numerous extensions, Neilan asked the Planning Commission for yet another extension.

"I'm pleased to say, after a considerable period of time, work is virtually complete except for the sewer," Neilan said. "The sewer is currently in mediation with the Public Service Commission." Neilan filed a complaint against the city's Sanitary Board with the PSC last year.

Larry Roller, general manager of the Sanitary Board, said a PSC mediator asked Neilan to file a new sewer plan for review by Friday.

John James of Terradon, Neilan's consultant, said he's working on the plans. "The Sanitary Board issues will get resolved one way or another," he said, "and we'll come back with revised plans -- better than the original ones."

City Planning Director Dan Vriendt said the engineering department recommends granting a very minor extension to complete very specific work -- backfilling, seeding, grading and straightening of silt fences.

"Staff begrudgingly recommends approving an extension until the end of May, to complete this limited work." The partial approval would not allow any work on sewer lines or anything else not explicitly stated, Vriendt said.

That did not sit well with some commission members.

"I want him [Neilan] to have a revised plan," said Mary Jean Davis, also a City Council member. "We've given him five renewals. That's six years. In that time there are two new subdivisions in Charleston. Highland Hospital has built a new hospital.

"I don't want you doing any more work up there until you have a new plan, a plan we can see and trust you will follow," she told Neilan.

Davis is among several commissioners who previously criticized Neilan's delays and threatened not to approve more deadline extensions.

Despite that, "I begrudgingly move to approve an extension to the end of May," she said, and the measure passed.

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