Gap to mull reinstatement of town court

Officials to rethink building permit process

By Jan Runions - [email protected]

Cumberland Gap Mayor Neal Pucciarelli

Those who break the law in Cumberland Gap could be attending town court, if officials decide to reinstate the practice. Mayor Neal Pucciarelli suggested the measure during the January board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Town court would be a complement to the on-duty policing of the Gap, which now occurs from Thursday through Saturday, said the Mayor.

“We have to do some research on it to see the feasibility,” said Pucciarelli.

It looks as though town officials could be handling the granting of building permits a bit differently. Pucciarelli suggested giving those requesting permits ‘full disclosure’ upfront, to alleviate future confusion.

The idea, which was discussed during the town planning and zoning portion of the meeting, was bounced off the announcement that a resident had applied for a permit to create a driveway of sorts on Colwyn.

“I think we need to start with everything going through planning and zoning before we issue any permits or any applications for permits. Something comes up and Linda (city recorder Linda Moyers) will get complaints – ‘what is that?’ and, sometimes, we don’t even know,” said Pucciarelli.

The Mayor said he and Moyers had researched all the codes they could find and passed that knowledge on to the driveway builder, prior to that person completing his application.

“We need to give each person that’s applying for a permit as much information, upfront, as we can so that we aren’t having all of these issues on a monthly basis,” said Pucciarelli.

In other action, the Mayor will be meeting on Jan. 20 with the superintendent of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in reference to reopening a section of the walking bridge that runs into downtown.

Apparently, a portion of that bridge near or on Park property has been closed for a lengthy time due to disrepair. It looks as though a couple of boards is preventing safe travel along that section, according to alderman Chuck Coffey, who said many walkers were forced to make “a sketchy” way along the side of the roadway.

Pucciarelli said he had heard a “multitude of stories” about the walkway.

“I ran into a gentleman walking his dogs. It was about dusk by the time he got to the ‘million dollar’ parking lot. And, he was afraid to come down the hill with his dogs,” said Pucciarelli.

The walking trail is one of the most ‘well-traveled’ in the park, he said.

“I’m having a hard time figuring out why they can’t fix it,” said Pucciarelli.

In other action, the town will be addressing ongoing problems with groundwater ‘run-off’ into certain homes and businesses.

Coffey suggested putting the issue ‘on the back burner’ for a while, to allow time for the annual budget preparation to draw nearer.

About 15 manholes will need work, at a cost of about $105 per foot, he said.

The town may be looking into the way in which it handles past-due water bills. Pucciarelli suggested that the planning committee address policies surrounding the shutting off of water.

“This last time, we didn’t cut anybody’s water off until they were 17 days past due. We had a couple of complaints. Linda sent out notices that we are now ready to (accept) credit and debit cards,” said Pucciarelli.

There will be a four percent service charge attached to this method of payment, according to Moyers.

Reach Jan Runions at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @scribeCP.

Cumberland Gap Mayor Neal Pucciarelli Gap Mayor Neal Pucciarelli
Officials to rethink building permit process

By Jan Runions

[email protected]

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