Habitat For Humanity Requests Variance To Build Two Homes In Durbin

Durbin, WV – John Connor, with Almost Heaven Habitat For Humanity, updated Durbin council during council’s regular meeting Tuesday night. The Habitat manager told council the group located two adjoining 40×100-foot lots to build two homes in Durbin – but there’s a problem with a town ordinance.

“We have reason to believe that we could build two homes,” he said. “However, for it to fit, for it to work, for the footprint of these homes to work out, we would want to go into the project with a variance, allowing us to position those two houses closer than the 15-foot minimum to each other.”

A Durbin ordinance requires structures to be built a minimum of 15-feet apart. Recorder John Osborne said granting a variance would open a can of worms.

“This would open a can of worms, because, from my experience with the people of this town, if you get something – there will be something completely irrelevant to what you have – they’re going to come back and say, ‘well, you let this person do that, so I want to do this.'” he said
Mayor Donald Peck expressed concern about access to sewer lines.”

“The two lots and a house on each one of them – if we had to get in there to work on those two lines, with equipment – I don’t know,” he said.

Councilmember Mike Vance, who owns a plumbing business, said it would be possible to install clean-outs to allow access to the sewer lines and allow the homes to be built.
Connor said there’s a lot of demand for affordable housing in the Durbin area.

“I know a lot of families,” he said. “We get phone calls from them all the time – that would be happy to be out of their house that’s sliding off their foundation and that doesn’t have indoor plumbing, into an energy-efficient home that we could build for them here in the Town of Durbin.”

Vance said the project is an opportunity to grow the town.

“I’d like to see this town grow,” he said. “We ought to prosper and grow. The town has got to work with the people in town, in order to keep people here. You know, I’d like to see the town grow and get more people.”
Council tabled the matter until more information was obtained from the property owner and a deed check could be done to determine existing easements on the property. Connor said Habitat is still looking for building lots in Durbin to purchase.

Mayor Peck informed council that the West Virginia office of the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency had disapproved the town’s request for $1.79 million to upgrade the town’s wastewater system. A letter from Rural Development state director Bobby Lewis said the amount is more than 25% of the grant allocation for the entire state. The letter recommended requesting a lower amount or pursuing other funding options.

Peck, who is also the Durbin Days Heritage Festival coordinator, said he was making progress on festival plans. The mayor said musical entertainment would include the D.C. Riggs Band on Friday night and the Steve McCormick Band on Saturday night. Peck said he was still working on scheduling a band for Thursday night. The Durbin Days festival is scheduled for July 13-17.

In other business, Durbin council:
– approved getting estimates for graveling a portion of Meadow Lane Road and requesting support from the Division of Highways.
– approved a project to cut brush around the town’s wastewater lagoon, and
– tabled action on letters to owners of unkempt property.

The next regular Durbin council meeting is scheduled for May 8 at 7 p.m.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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