West Jeff council okays narrowing street

(Posted Sept. 9, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

In a non-descript building a stone’s throw from the West Jefferson village administration building sits a business that makes castings.

Fisher Cast Steel’s customers include the airplane and hydroelectric industries, among others. The company has been in business for more than 75 years.

John Harmyer of Fisher Cast Steel wants to expand the company’s molding capabilities. To do so, he wants to enlarge the existing building, which would make the street alongside it narrower.

“If we couldn’t narrow the street, we couldn’t put up the size of addition we want to,” Harmyer said after West Jefferson village council cast a 5-2 vote on Sept. 4 to narrow the street known as Veterans Way.

The vote came after council held a public hearing that lasted 11 minutes. Council President Steve Johnston explained the proposal. At previous meetings, members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005, located on Veterans Way, opposed the idea. Harmyer said he had spoken with post members and is glad the organization is now on his side.

The main objection from one VFW member had been concern that the narrowed street would mean lost parking for the post.

Johnston said narrowing Veterans’ Way from 33 feet to 26 feet 5 inches and North Center Street from 66 feet to 56 feet would not impact the traffic pattern.

Public Service Director John Mitchell said there would still be plenty of space for driving. He noted that a driving lane on a highway is 10 feet to 11 feet wide.

When the vote was taken, council members Howard Wade and Mike Conway voted against the measure.

Wade, a veteran of the Iraq War, said after the meeting that he took sides with VFW member Bob Harper who had said, “If this passes, what else will they take away from the VFW?”

“I sympathized with Harper,” said Wade, who is not a member of the VFW. “It looks like they were encroaching on the VFW territory.”

About the VFW and Fisher Cast Steel, Wade added, “I hope it goes well for both of them.”

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