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by Torie McCloy
(September 15, 1998) For the first time in four years, Bridgeport City Council voted Monday to annex more property into city limits.
The decision still must be upheld by the Harrison County Commission before Maplewood Development, a retirement village offering medical care to seniors, becomes part of Bridgeport.
Maplewood is located adjacent to the Heritage Nursing Home along U.S. Route 50.
Mayor Joe Timms said such a decision is important because it adds to Bridgeport's growth.
Council also hopes to spur growth through amendments to the city tax code.
Council members decided Monday to have a draft amendment prepared that will give current Bridgeport businesses an incentive to make expansions.
Currently, city tax codes offer new business development incentives of a three-year freeze on taxes if the construction bears a $3 million or higher price tag and will employ at least 50 people.
Council members want to add to the code by providing a three-year freeze on tax levels for existing businesses that plan a $3 million or more expansion while adding 15 employees to the payroll.
"We hope it will encourage firms thinking of expanding to do it in Bridgeport," Timms said.
Also Monday, council upheld a unanimous decision by the Bridgeport Planning Commission not to change the city zoning code to allow for Type I manufactured homes in a R-1 district.
Virgie Altman, 66, of Worthington Drive appeared before council asking them to change the code to allow her to put in a double-wide manufactured home on Worthington Drive.
"It will have a concrete foundation with a porch. It will not look like a trailer. But, it is a manufactured home," Altman said. "If you put a house on a foundation, it is a house."
Councilwoman Ruth Allen said she understood many of the manufactured homes being built now are built well. She cast the sole vote against the Planning Commission's decision.
"She's wanting a one-story home," Allen said.
City code only allows for single-family dwellings or modular homes in an R-1 district. Manufactured homes are allowed in R-3 districts, but only allowed in R-2 districts with approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Altman, an empty-nester tired of walking the steps in her two-story home, said she disagreed with the decision and wants a public hearing. The Planning Commission will have to choose whether to grant such a hearing.
In other news Monday, council:
· re-appointed Councilman John Westfall to the Central West Virginia Transit Authority.
· presented a Community Pride Award to Blair Wright, owner of Sprint Print.
· announced vacancies and asked for applications for the three-member Municipal Building Commission.
The commission, which was set up in 1990, has never been used. The commission finances properties by issuing low-interest, tax-free bonds. The commission works much like the Clarksburg Municipal Building Commission, which financed the new city building. Bridgeport residents can apply for the board by calling City Clerk Judy Lawson at 842-8233.