WEIRTON - Despite significant changes in plans, requests to timber a wooded area located generally at the end of North 10th Street and stretching down to the Kings Creek area were denied a second time by the Weirton Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday.
Creekside Logging of West Farmington, Ohio submitted a request for a conditional use permit for timbering on properties owned by the Kusic, Wargacki and Valuska families after reevaluating plans making it more suitable to resident concerns brought forth during the April meeting.
Representatives of Creekside Logging stated the company intended to do a select cut of trees 18 inches in diameter and would have to be in compliance with all the state regulations as far as erosion is concerned. Routine inspections would be performed and a buffer around property lines could be made since only about 30 percent of the entire area would be forested.
Changes were made to the boundary so that timbering would take place only on flat land instead of any parcels that had a downhill slope to address any erosion concerns. In addition, slag would be put down along with mulch and replanting of trees in the area to keep erosion problems in check within forestry regulations.
Plans also included a buffer of between 300 and 700 feet against property lines where cutting would not take place and another 75 foot buffer from those lines for equipment.
Company representatives pleaded their case once again citing they did not wish to be fined or shut down during timbering and would take every precaution necessary.
"This is our business," said company associate Ray Miller. "This is what this company has done. Logging is all these people know and they know how to do it right."
"If we were in Marshall County, West Virginia where we've timbered before, this room would be filled with friends," added Miller.
If the timbering were to take place, plans stated there would be approximately two truck loads a day with a weight of 65,000 pounds per truck moving at 10 miles per hour five days a week. In addition, there would be a flagger truck to precede the logging truck to clear traffic to ensure safety for area residents as well as the truck drivers.
Chief Code Official Rod Rosnick said if the conditional use permit were to be approved, the company would have to have a $250,000 bond for the road to cover any potential damage. He said the road would also have to be video taped prior to the logging trucks driving on the street and after.
According to Rosnick, sanitary and water board officials would mark their lines and equipment would not be able to cross them. Also, the speed limit would have to be set by the city engineer and violating it would be cause for immediate revocation of the permit.
Although Creekside Logging proposed new plans to address many of the previous concerns, residents stepped forward with new concerns for safety Tuesday, noting narrow streets, traffic congestion issues and children throughout the neighborhood.
Ward 2 Councilman Chuck Wright and Ward 1 Councilman Ronnie Jones held their positions against the timbering in the area. Jones said he went door to door to hear what residents had to say and many people informed him they didn't want to see timbering in the area.
Margaret Valuska, one of the property owners, said she and her father Alfonse Wargacki have been on their property and there are several trees falling over that need to be harvested. She said fire trucks go up and down those streets along with school buses.
"This is a professional company," she said.
Valuska said she also spoke with area residents door to door and stated there was a great deal of misunderstanding. She said residents informed her they thought there might be lots of trucks coming in and out of the area or filming for the television series "Axe Men" - a reality show based on the daily lives of major timbering companies throughout the country.
Valuska presented a petition from residents representing 14 households and 49 adults who were not against the logging. She said not everyone is against it and hoped the board would consider both sides carefully.
Due to the lack of a motion for approval from the board, the request was denied.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)