City considers new bans, permits
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 23:08
Members of the Morgantown City Council discussed an ordinance to prohibit the use of handheld electronic devices while driving or operating a motor vehicle .
In consideration of the state law concerning handheld electronic devices and driving, members of city council said passing a similar, citywide law would help enforcement.
"It goes hand in hand with the state law that was passed in that regard, so this is simply the city of Morgantown adopting the same law so that we can enforce via municipal court," said city manager Terrence Moore. "Right now, the city police department has the ability to enforce via magistrate court with the state regulation, however by doing so in municipal court, the ability now exists for the city of Morgantown to more quickly and more responsively enforce any violations in that regard."
A second public hearing discussed an ordinance that would require motion photography production permits for motion photography production on public property in Morgantown.
Many assumed this ordinance is a response to the "I’m Shmacked" videos, but Moore says it’s not a specific event that sparked the ordinance.
"It’s so much just that particular event, but the fact in recognizing there’s more interest in film production activity in Morgantown, W.Va., and the fact that infrastructure, public spaces and public resources are often times used by a larger scale production company that may have an interest in filming or offering a production in Morgantown," Moore said.
"We simply are in the process of doing what we can to be involved early on so there won’t be any issues or concerns regarding inconvenience or disruption to traffic, for example, the utilization of a public right away, a street, any of those cases," he said. "A lot of this information that we’ve recommended is actually modeled based on what happens in New York or other places around the country."
Moore also claims this ordinance is not an approach to prohibit any filming in Morgantown.
"It’s really an opportunity for the city of Morgantown to simply be aware and be able to respond to any issues or concerns that may arise," Moore said. "So, it’s not so much a situation in which we’re discouraging it. In fact, in recognizing that there’s more interest to do this, this is simply an opportunity for the city of Morgantown to offer whatever leadership and guidance it can to be responsive."
There were no members of the public present to speak on either ordinance, and both were passed for a second reading at the next regular meeting.
The council also briefly discussed the release of
Sunnyside Up Director Jim Hunt. Mayor Jim Manilla made it clear Hunt was actually offered a part-time job from his previous full-time job after financial cuts were made to the program, and he declined the part-time position.
Councilor Bill Byrne discussed the benefits of the Sunnyside Up program and Hunt’s accomplishments while doing so, and said he wanted to publicly thank and
apologize to Hunt for "remarks made by a member of council."
Byrne also said the firing of Hunt was "essentially killing Sunnyside Up."
The next regular City Council meeting will take place Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Morgantown Municipal Building. For more information on the Morgantown City Council, visit www.morgantownwv.gov.