Floodplain ordinance studied

BETHANY — The services of an engineer will likely be needed to update the town’s floodplain ordinance, Bethany Mayor Patrick Sutherland said Wednesday.

Sutherland told council on Wednesday it’s time to update the floodplain management ordinance adopted by the town in 2008 and an engineering firm is being considered to ensure it’s in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The town received funds through FEMA after the town hall, Bethany Park and other areas were flooded following heavy rainfall spurred by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Based on a 39-page model floodplain ordinance from the West Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the ordinance is required for residents, businesses and the town itself to be covered by the federal flood insurance program.

Sutherland noted the need for that was underscored by flooding on July 29 that reached shelters at the edge of Bethany Park, falling short of the new baseball field established by Bethany College; and flooded the college’s soccer fields near state Route 67 and covered several roads and yards of homes near Buffalo Creek.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation reported all or parts of state Route 67 and Hukill Run, Camp Run, Castleman’s Run, Pierce Run and Lazear’s Run roads were closed that day due to high water.

Sutherland noted Bethany Police Chief Mike Bolen assisted the town’s volunteer fire department in responding to the flash flood, which left debris on roadways.

In other business:

• Bethany Fire Chief C.E. Schwertfeger said following the disbanding of the fire department’s ambulance squad, a class for those interested in serving in the first responder unit will be held this fall.

Schwertfeger said members of the former ambulance squad plan to serve in the unit.

The Brooke County Ambulance Service, which has a station on Route 67 near Bethany, has agreed to cover the Bethany area.

A lack of manpower spurred by the time required for training, recordkeeping and the hospital transports themselves were cited as reasons for the dissolution.

• Sutherland said about $3,000 again has been allocated for the town’s 50-50 sidewalk program. The mayor said the town will hire a contractor to replace or repair sidewalks near homes or businesses, with priority given to those that are most damaged.

• Councilwoman Sydma Hatzopoulos said she won’t be able to coordinate the town’s annual yard sale, normally held on the second Saturday of September, but can help another volunteer interested in organizing it.

In related business, Sutherland said this year’s summer community picnic has been canceled. But he said there are plans for a potluck dinner in September or October and volunteers are needed for it.

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