TIF Bonds, Street Relocation on Agenda

A proposal that calls for Wheeling to refinance about $6.5 million in outstanding debt and a plan to relocate a city street that has drawn criticism from some neighborhood residents will be among items before Wheeling City Council Tuesday.

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first floor of the City-County Building, with council’s Finance Committee slated to meet prior to the regular session, at 5:15 p.m.

Wheeling has a total of about $6.52 million in outstanding Tax Increment Financing debt. The refinancing ordinance would authorize bonds to be issued in an amount not to exceed $7 million, revenue from which would be used to retire previous bond debt incurred to redevelop the Stone Center, demolish buildings in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets and other projects.

According to City Manager Robert Herron, consolidating the debt will free up about $392,000 in annual revenue that can be used for development projects or to pay down other debt.

A public hearing on the refinancing proposal is expected to take place at a special meeting Dec. 30 during which council will vote on the ordinance. West Virginia law allows cities to issue up to $10 million in tax-exempt bonds each calendar year, and Herron previously said approving the TIF refinancing prior to Dec. 31 will keep it from counting against the city’s 2014 total.

Tuesday also will be the final opportunity for residents to air their views to council on the proposed relocation of Corliss Terrace Road to accommodate additional parking at the Woodsdale Hampton Inn, which plans to expand from five floors to seven. A zoning variance related to the building’s height already has been granted by the city Board of Zoning Appeals, while council’s Development Committee late last month voted to recommend the full body approve the lane abandonment for Corliss Terrace Road.

The proposed expansion plan has drawn opposition from residents of a private drive on the hill overlooking the hotel, Corliss Avenue, who believe the new road will be more hazardous to travel during inclement weather and denies them truly public access to their neighborhood because it would run between two separate parking areas owned by the hotel. Residents of nearby condominiums along Park Road don’t like the expansion because plans call for the outlet from their parking area to be moved.

As a condition of approving the lane abandonment, the hotel would build the new road and turn it over to the city. A final vote on the lane abandonment should take place during council’s regular meeting on Jan. 7.

Council is also set to vote on the following items Tuesday: spending $15,800 with Edgco Inc. of Lansing to repair manholes on 44th and 45th streets; establishing handicapped parking zones in front of 817 Market St. and 313 Warwood Ave.; forbidding parking on the east side of Betty Street from Steenrod Avenue to Frances Street; and creating a fire lane on a portion of the south side of Springdale Avenue.