Draft Chapters of Updated Plan Need Increased Focus

The initial draft chapters of Wheeling’s updated comprehensive plan need a little more focus, members of a city steering committee decided Tuesday.

During its meeting, the Comprehensive Plan Subcommittee – composed of four city Planning Commission members and four other residents – spent almost an hour behind closed doors obtaining advice from its legal counsel, City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth, on how the documents received line up with the contractual obligations of its consultant, Compass Point Planning of Blue Ash, Ohio.

Following the executive session, committee members decided to ask the consultant to refocus the document and make a presentation at its next meeting, zeroing in on a few specific goals on which the plan can expand.

The new plan must address issues such as land use, housing, transportation, public services, recreation, economic development, urban renewal, financing and historic preservation. The draft chapter dealing with the community’s vision for the future reflected the public input gathered during several public meetings held late last year, but included “six or seven pages of goals, one after another,” according to Planning Commission Chairman Howard Monroe.

“I just think we need to come up with some priorities here, what we need to focus on,” Monroe said.

Wheeling hasn’t updated its comprehensive plan since 1997, but it must do so by the end of this year in order to comply with a state law, passed in 2004, requiring municipalities to update their plans at least once per decade to remain eligible for certain state funding.

The plans are intended to serve as guides for cities when making decisions such as zoning.

“This is going to guide the city for the next 10 years. We want to make sure what we’re doing is correct,” said Councilman Don Atkinson.