Marietta City Council repeals right of way ordinance

Marietta City Council repealed the city’s current right of way ordinance Wednesday in preparation for a new comprehensive ordinance accounting for changes in state law.

“We spent a great deal of time last year writing ours but now in order to maintain home rule we need to comply with the state again,” said Streets Committee Chairwoman Kathy Downer, explaining that repealing the current ordinance will make way for a new ordinance to be written by the end of the year.

The new ordinance will cover not only permitting requirements and public utility requirements for returning rights of way to the state they were in before upgrades to gas, electric and other work, but also cover cell towers and wireless nodes.

Council’s special meeting Wednesday also covered old business introduced last week concerning the lease of the final ground floor room of the Armory, Room 16, the sale of land at 410 Fearing St., funding transfers for Marietta Municipal Court and a grant application for the 2019 Asphalt Resurfacing Project.

WASCO Inc. was awarded a second room, on the Armory’s ground floor with a bid of $3,600 annually after Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee Chairwoman Cindy Oxender suspended the third reading of the ordinance.

“This is a contract to be entered into with WASCO… they’d like to expand their current space, as council we’re anxious to have that lease money come into the city,” said Oxender before the unanimous vote approving the contract.

WASCO has a room across the hall, which it leases in exchange for providing cleaning services for the building.

Oxender also suspended the third reading to advertise for bids for sale of land at 410 Fearing St. now that the blighted building previously there has been demolished.

“We have demolished the dilapidated property, (now) the city would like to sell that property and try to recoup that money,” said Oxender, prior to the unanimous vote approving the list for sale. “We hope we can turn around and use sale funds to assist in other blighted property.”

Council also authorized the transfer of $120,000 between Marietta Municipal Court funds to efficiently digitize old criminal records.

“None of this money is coming from the General Fund,” clarified Finance Committee Chairman Mike Scales. “This is not part of the income tax, it comes from funds they’ve raised through the court themselves.

Council approved the transfer unanimously.

Before closing the meeting Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp encouraged those present to also attend the city’s Land Bank Information Meeting, to be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Washington State Community College.

He said a land bank could be a useful tool not only for the city to attack blighted properties like 410 Fearing St. through demolitions, but also to aid in funding sources for property owners to fix up declining homes and businesses before they need to be torn down.

He asked council to encourage their networks throughout the county, including township trustees and other elected officials to attend the meeting.