Hurricane man seeks help on city noise ordinance

By Lawrence Smith | Jun 29, 2007

HURRICANE – A Putnam County man is seeking the assistance of the court to aid in enforcing the city of Hurricane's noise ordinance.

On June 25, Mark Halburn filed a writ of mandamus in Putnam Circuit Court requesting city officials start enforcing its nuisance and noise ordinances in regard to the construction of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. The construction is taking place near the westbound lane of Interstate 64, and across from Halburn's home.

In his writ, Halburn says he's made numerous appearances before the Hurricane city council about the "excessive noise" coming from both the construction site, and the site where Kanawha Valley Construction, one of the contractors on the project, stores its equipment next door to Halburn's home. He alleges that city officials have ignored his repeated requests to enforce the ordinances.

"Both sites are adjacent to homes that have been standing for more than 30 years in a residential neighborhood," Halburn said in his writ. "Common courtesy dictates that neighbors be allowed to live in peace and quiet. The Hurricane noise ordinance puts this peace and quiet into codified law."

Also, Halburn, who publishes Putnam County news on the Web site, alleges he was arrested in January in conjunction with inquiries he made to the construction site's general contractor, Cleveland Construction, about an unlicensed blaster. He was acquitted on charges of telephone harassment in April.

Filing the writ, Halburn said, is not an attempt to throw a monkey wrench into the plans of business development. Instead, it's an attempt to strike a balance between economic development, and a sense of community.

"We need a Wal-Mart in Putnam County to keep our shoppers, and to spur growth," Halburn said. "The problem is they are building a store next two homes that have been here for 35 years. There are a dozen other sites, flat prepared store sites, where a Wal-Mart could have been built without disrupting neighbors."

Already, Putnam Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding has recused himself from the case.

In his voluntary recusal order, Spaulding said that Halburn called his office five times in the 24 hours after he filed the pro se petition, making demands and accusations to his secretary.

In the recusal order, Spaulding also noted that Halburn had once published a personal attack against him on PutnamLive.Com saying the initials O.C. stands for "on crack" and suggested sheriff's deputies follow the judge in his car and continually give him traffic tickets to drive up his insurance rates.

The case has now been assigned to Judge Norland "Ed" Eagloski.

No hearing date has been set for Halburn's writ.

Hurricane's attorney Ronald J. Flora did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 07-C-198

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