Group Hopes to Transform Brownfield Site

Trail Plan Goes to Zoning

Morgantown Dominion Post
8 April 2014
By Ben Conley

A plan by the Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) to turn the former Quality Glass site into a trail head, complete with boat launch, parking areas and a restroom facility is heading to the West Run Planning District Board of Zoning Appeals.

The 2.8-acre site on Van Voorhis Road is a brownfield, meaning it was formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes. The location underwent a remediation process beginning in 2009 during which contaminated soil was removed and clean soil brought in.

In 2012, the property was deeded from the Monongalia County Commission to Star City, which has since officially donated the property to the MRTC.

The MRTC’s plans include a 9,025-square-foot gravel parking lot and pathway leading to a ramp for non-motored boats, as well as an 84-square-foot non-plumbed toilet facility.

As part of the brownfield agreement, excavation, drilling or other penetration of the land is prohibited.

Additionally, a small, paved lot already used for trail access will be striped for five spaces, including handicapped use.

Monongalia County Planner Rich Wood recommended approval of a Conditional Use Permit for the project, which is necessary for the installation of a parking lot without a business.

The Board of Zoning Appeals for the West Run Planning District will decide whether or not to grant that permit on April 16.

“Oh yes, I certainly am,” Norma Gallagher said when asked if she was going to the meeting. “I think everybody down here is going.”

Gallagher said she has the signatures of nearly everyone in the immediate area on a petition against the development. Most of the signatures — 13 of 15 — are property owners, she said.

“I don’t have a problem with the trail. I walk the trail. I’m not against development. In fact, I agree there needs to be more parking to get people off the street and off people’s property, but you’re going to have to give me a good reason for the restroom and the boat ramp,” Gallagher said.”

Ronald Ford agreed.

“This is residential. This area they’re talking about is surrounded by people’s homes. Folks come down here and park in our grass, throw trash and dog [waste] on our property ... You ask someone to put their dog on a leash and they act like they want to fight you,” Fo rd said. “People who want this don’t live down here.”

Ford agreed that parking should be increased to keep visitors from blocking streets and driveways, but he said he was against a bathroom and boat ramp that would pull more people in. He said he planned on making that point at the April 16 meeting.

“You wouldn’t believe the things that have gone on down here, the things the people around here have put up with. It’s to the point I run to the window every time the dog barks. My vehicles are parked out here,” Ford said. “I’ll tell you the truth, I’d rather have the train back. Since the trail came through, this place has gone hog wild.”

The April 16 meeting will be held in the Planning Commission’s first-floor conference room at the Morgantown Municipal Airport Terminal.