LOGAN — The proposal for a zoning ordinance within the City of Logan was discussed at length during the city’s most recent council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Zoning was first proposed by city fire chief and code enforcer Scott Beckett during the June 2020 council meeting. Zoning ordinances allow municipalities to regulate how specific parts within the town can be used, such as providing specific zones for residential areas and business development.
Beckett argues that bringing zoning to Logan will help code be better enforced, as well as business development downtown. He says he has often received calls from businesses and individuals interested in coming into the city and is asked about any existing zoning within the limits.
Paul Ellis, a former Charleston city attorney who has been hired by Logan as a special counsel to help with issues like zoning and home rule, detailed a meeting he had with David Gilmore of GAI Consultants Inc., a company he advises might be able to help Logan achieve zoning.
Ellis outlined the process for obtaining zoning, which he said starts with organizing a planning commission. The planning commission consists of five people, he said, and three of those have to be residents who live in Logan.
The planning commission will conduct a few public hearings, approve a plan and recommend it to city council for approval. There also will have to be someone who will outline requirements like regarding demographics, mapping, questionnaires and community engagement, which is where GAI — or another company — would come into play.
Ellis said the comprehensive zoning plan itself is a five- to 10-year look at where Logan is at currently and where it wants to be. He said the plan is a fluid one that is not required to be followed word for word.
“The meat of the thing is, what do you all want to do? Where do you want to expand? Do you want to expand?” Ellis said. “What do you want to expand to? What kind of businesses are you trying to attract? Where is your resident population now, where is it moving, is it moving? How is the city going to accommodate the trail business? It’s a roadmap to what Logan wants to be in five years to 10 years. You don’t have to follow it once you get it in place — it’s not a, ‘Well, you can’t do that because the plan says different,’ but it’s a roadmap. It’s kind of a guidepost.”
If zoning were to happen in Logan, Ellis said it would set a framework for development, as certain areas of the city will be specifically zoned for that purpose. It can also lead to potential grant opportunities, he said.
Ellis added that a zoning board would also be required by law, and noted that other cities, such as his home of Charleston, update their zoning plans every few years.
Beckett expressed excitement over the prospect of zoning in Logan, saying that if it happens, it will carry a domino effect for Man and Chapmanville and down into Mingo County. He said zoning would also promote the trail and tourism industry.
Mayor Serafino Nolletti asked Ellis to invite Gilmore to attend next month’s city council meeting to give a brief presentation and a firm offer. Ellis gave a soft quote on consulting fees of $50,000 to $60,000 from GAI, but noted that “everything is negotiable.”