Council members delay vote on Wyndemere

PARKERSBURG – A vote to help complete and dedicate roads in Wyndemere will not be coming before Parkersburg City Council this month, officials said on Friday.

Officials have debated a plan to provide $34,000 to help finish roads in Wyndemere and then dedicate those roads to make them the city’s responsibility. The housing community was annexed by the city in 1999, but the roads were never dedicated and in recent years fell into disrepair.

Wyndemere homeowners have already begun the process of repairing the streets with the hope of having them dedicated as public thorofares.

Mayor Bob Newell originally planned to have city council vote on the issue at the end of August, but said two of the three sponsors, Councilmen John Rockhold and John Kelly, indicated otherwise.

“They didn’t want to put it before council yet,” Newell said.

Rockhold said both he and Kelly separately requested the delay. Rockhold said he believes council members did not have enough information on Wyndemere.

“I did ask for them to wait,” to bring this to council, Rockhold said. “I asked for council to be given time to be educated on this.”

Kelly said he requested the delay because he believed the motion would be voted down.

“There wasn’t enough votes to pass it, and if you beat it, it’s gone,” he said.

The plan already suffered a setback in July when a motion to move forward in the Finance Committee died for lack of a second. Newell indicated at the time he had the three sponsors necessary to bring it for a vote even without the committee’s endorsement.

Newell said while he respected the Finance Committee’s decision to not send the resolution on to full council, he does not believe that should be the end of the discussion.

“I think committees are very important, but I don’t think things should get killed in committee,” Newell said. “I think at the end of the day everyone who is elected to vote should vote.”

A major sticking point of the plan has been the existence of a gate which connects Wyndemere to 12th Street in Vienna. The gate remains closed and in use by residents.

The Parkersburg end of Wyndemere is ungated, which city officials say meets the definition of public access. Newell said the city would not dedicate the section of road containing the gate, but the gate would remain in place.

Both Rockhold and Kelly said the 1999 Wyndemere annexation contract signed by Denver Horn, one of the developers of the housing community and also a resident of Wyndemere, and then-Mayor Jimmy Colombo, refers to Wyndemere several times as a “gated community.” The document also discusses proving pass codes to the gate for city emergency and service vehicles.

“Not one person at that time objected to this contract,” Rockhold said. “When you get the facts out it is a very simple thing. We did take them in to the city under those circumstances.”

The contract also says the roads, once they meet city code, would be be dedicated, and indicated at that time the work already was being done up to code.

“We have a moral and ethical and I believe legal obligation to fulfill our promises to them,” Rockhold said.

Newell said he is not sure the contract signed by his predecessor in 1999 would hold up in court. City attorney Joe Santer was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Kelly said regardless of his feelings on the matter, he believes the 1999 contract is legally binding.

“Had I been on council when that came about, would I have approved that? Probably not,” Kelly said. “But as a councilman I have a responsibility to fulfill laws and contracts the previous councils have put into place. I think they gave away the farm, and I didn’t do it, but I have to live with it.”

Newell said he remains adamant the roads at Wyndemere should be dedicated by the city and he still intends to bring it before council.

“It’s not an ideal situation. I understand that,” he said. “The fact of the matter is we’ve resolved other similar problems in other areas of the city.”