Pipeline, broken windows Brooke focus

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Commission was approached Tuesday about the potential extension of a pipeline across the county animal shelter site and for aid in replacing broken windows at the county’s museum that has presented a risk to passersby.

The commission agreed to allow crews with Sunoco Pipeline to survey 29 acres occupied by the animal shelter, the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority’s Recycling Center and a storage facility used by the county’s emergency management and sheriff’s departments.

In a letter to the commission, Paul Woody, a project manager with Sunoco, said the company is investigating the possibility of building a pipeline to transport liquid petroleum from Harrison County through the Northern Panhandle across Pennsylvania and into Delaware.

Woody said Sunoco plans to conduct a survey and a non-invasive feasibility study of the properties involved.

“Although West Virginia law provides Sunoco with the right to conduct these surveys and inspections without your express permission, we prefer to obtain your consent before entering upon your property,” Woody said.

“Upon completion of the survey, if it is determined the pipeline route will cross your property, a Sunoco agent will contact you to discuss the purchase of an easement or other rights,” he said.

Commission President Tim Ennis said he met with a Sunoco official last week but he didn’t discuss specifics of the pipeline, such as its proposed depth.

County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi said the company should inform affected residents also so they are aware crews will be on their land.

He said the county should require that crews are bonded so they are held responsible for restoring land affected by the work.

The pipeline is expected to run through hundreds of properties in Western Pennsylvania.

A South Huntingdon, Pa. family has filed a suit against Sunoco in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court in an effort to prevent the company from obtaining a right of way through their property by eminent domain.

Many others have signed agreements with the oil company, according to published reports.

In other business, the Brooke County Museum board asked the commission for funds to replace 17 broken windows at the museum, which relocated last year to the former G.C. Murphy store on Charles Street.

Ruby Greathouse, the board’s secretary, said the wood frame of a window on the third floor rotted, causing the glass pane to fall from the building during the Wellsburg Applefest. She said most of the glass fell onto the awning below and no one was harmed.

But she said 12 of the 16 other windows facing Charles Street also are rotting and one already was boarded up.

Greathouse said the museum board has secured $4,000 from the county’s economic development authority and $2,000 from the Northern Panhandle Resource Conservation and Development Council.

She said an additional $1,794 is needed to replace the windows, which the board hopes to do as soon as possible to prevent another incident from occurring.

The commissioners agreed to find the funds in their budget.

The commission also:

Joined members of the Brooke County school board in certifying ballots from the recent special election. County Clerk Sylvia Benzo said new totals for the election are 1,348 for the school district’s five-year operating levy and 504 against.

Board President Jim Piccirillo expressed thanks to voters who supported the levy and to Benzo and her staff for conducting the election.

Approved year-end bonuses of $500 for its 71 full-time employees and $250 for its part-time employees.

Ennis said he abstained from participating in a canvass of the ballots because he is employed by the school board.

Was asked by resident Timothy Huggins to lease county land adjacent to his property on Derby Lane off state Route 67. Huggins said he cuts grass there and would like to prevent trespassers from entering it.

Andreozzi said if the commission approves the lease, he may not build on the site because the commission needs to maintain a right of way there.

Re-appointed Greathouse to the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and Joe Mullenbach to the Brooke County Park and Recreation Commission, which oversees Brooke Hills Park.

County Commissioner Norma Tarr said she abstained from voting on the appointment because her husband, Henry, is the board’s president.

The commission also accepted a letter of resignation from the board from Paul DiGiacinto and agreed to send thank-yous to other members who recently resigned.

There are four vacant seats on the 11-member volunteer board, which meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month at the park’s clubhouse. Anyone interested in serving should submit a letter of interest to the County Clerk’s office.

The commission appointed Rich Ferguson, Anthony “Butch” Rottelini and Richard Kins to its newly formed dilapidated structure enforcement board.

An ordinance establishing the board calls for it to be comprised of two residents, a local fire chief, a representative of the county health department and the county’s sheriff as a non-voting member.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com)