Elkins reviewing nearly 30 years of ordinances in preparation of new city code book

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- For nearly 30 years, Elkins residents have difficulty finding the most modern city codes. A new push by the Elkins Rules and Ordinance Committee could change that.

The city code will be reviewed by the Rules and Ordinance Committee before going to Elkins City Council.

"It will just be so much easier than it has been in the past," said City Clerk Jessica Sutton.

The last time the Elkins city code was published in 1991. If residents want to look up a current code they will have to sort through 18 pages of over 260 codes. Then contact city hall for a full copy of that ordinance.

"If it was anything that was passed after 1991, I would have to individually look at every ordinance to make sure it was the most recent version," said Sutton.

Committee members have contracted with American Legal Publishing to create a new code book. But before that, they will need to review over two decades of ordinances.

"They took all that information and compiled it into a draft and also created something called a legal report," said Sutton.

That report lists any contradicting, incomplete or confusing ordinances. City hall staff are now reviewing these and sort them out.

"What rules and ordinances did yesterday was look over some questions in the report that we needed information from them, we needed some type of consensus from them," said Sutton.

These issues ranged from mundane to debate-worthy.

"A really simple one is that council had been referred to in three different ways," said Sutton.

Sutton also described a city code regarding how long dogs bark before it is ruled a nuisance.

"Currently in our city code. The language says if a dog is barking continuously it is a violation. That is very subjective," said Sutton.

The Rules and Ordinance Committee determined that 15 minutes of barking will now be the threshold to be determined a nuisance.

The committee's reccomendations will be returned to American Legal Publishing to form a final draft of the code book. After that, the rules and ordinance committee will present the city code to Elkins City Council where two readings will be held before the code is ratified.

Sutton says she expects the new city code to be in use before the summer.