Morgantown City Council passes amended litter ordinance, approves 2024 meeting schedule

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The City of Morgantown has now approved an amended city litter code and two new streets to be added to the city street system.

The second reading of the new city litter ordinance passed into law by council will include a reclassification of litter, new rules for the locations of resident disposal bins, and increased enforcement of penalties that will include jail time in certain cases. Citations that would vary from fines of up to $500 for litter that ranges from basic trash to disposed construction materials and up to 30 days in jail for “hazardous medical waste” such as sharps (needles).

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of trash along the streets, especially in downtown; several of us have gone out personally and helped to clean that up,” said Councilor Danielle Trumble in approval of the ordinance now turned law. “So I look forward to having more city employees who are able to address that,” she said.

The ordinance will require residents to keep streets clear of residential disposal bins. To address concerns from residents of places like Willey Street, plans are in place to discuss designated disposal areas so pedestrian safety and clean streets can be taken into account. To enforce the new ordinance, the City Director of Development Services (Rickie Yeager), the City Building Official and Deputy Building Official, Morgantown Parking Authority employees, and the City Fire Marshall and Deputy Fire Marshall will serve as “Special Litter Prevention Officers,” with training taking place this September.

“We will be conducting a special litter prevention officer training on the 27th (of September),” said Morgantown City Attorney Ryan Simonton. “Fire Marshalls, Code Enforcement Officers, and Development Services Director, all newly designated or re-designated as litter prevention officers,” he said.

The council also approved the inclusion of Cypress Street and Alley H between Overhill and Morgan streets. The inclusion of both streets was approved amidst concerns from residents on Cypress Street regarding traffic coming and a call from Councilor Louise “Weez” Michael to create a pedestrian-exclusive pathway in the Wiles Hill neighborhood. With the inclusion of Alley H into the city street system, the road that has been termed a “paper street” will now be called “Lavender Way.” This was despite a call from other members of the council to call Alley H “Weez’s Way.”

“As much as I appreciate it, it’s just called Weez’s. I really wasn’t comfortable with that,” said Michael about the new name for Alley H. “So we came up with the name, and some of our community liked the name Lavender Way,” she said.

The inclusion of Cypress Street will keep the street restricted from vehicular traffic ahead of planned maintenance on Van Voorhis Road that could cause traffic.

The 2024 Morgantown City Council meeting schedule was also approved unanimously on first reading. The first regular meeting in 2024 is scheduled for January 2, with no meetings scheduled in the first week of August due to the West Virginia Municipal League Conference. No monthly committee of the whole is scheduled for December 2024. This is subject to change ahead of what is considered a weird meeting schedule due to the alignment of the calendar.

“Those extended holiday breaks will be a little rough,” said Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli. “I think there’s at least three, if not, five of them,” she said.