Elevator Inspection Co. Granted Parking Variance

The Wheeling Board of Zoning Appeals voted Thursday to waive the off-street parking requirement for a company seeking to establish an office at 2705 Jacob St., despite Chairman Martin Sheehan’s concern it may be taking somewhat of a chance in doing so.

Members voted 3-0 to grant a variance for Vertical Transport Consulting, which does elevator safety inspections for customers around West Virginia.

Katrina High, who appeared before the board on the company’s behalf, said there are three employees who would work there scheduling appointments and no customers would be visiting the office.

The company plans to level and spread gravel in the backyard, which is large enough to accommodate the three employees’ vehicles, High added.

After hearing this information, Sheehan proposed reducing the off-street parking requirement from five spaces to three rather than eliminating it entirely.

But Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development Tom Connelly said that would bring the city’s ordinance regarding commercial parking lots into play, along with a slew of requirements including lighting, landscaping and setbacks that would be difficult to meet in such a small space.

“If you were to tie this request to a parking lot, they would have to reappear and ask for eight variances,” Connelly said.

Board member David Ellwood agreed, noting the situation is no different from that at other buildings nearby where vehicles are parked in backyards that don’t meet those stringent requirements.

“You’re taking the standards of a true parking lot and applying it to a backyard in Center Wheeling,” Ellwood said.

But Sheehan said he’s concerned that by eliminating the requirement entirely, the city has no guarantee the company will follow through with graveling the yard for parking.

Though acknowledging the board likely would approve all the necessary variances for a parking lot in light of conditions on that street, he said by requiring them “you have something you can enforce. With this, we have nothing.”

Ellwood ultimately joined Sherry Sligar and Steve Johnston in voting to approve the request, with Sheehan abstaining. Board member Ronald Sinclair was absent.

In other business, the board re-elected Sheehan as its chairman and Ellwood as its vice chairman.