Parking Variances OK’d for Businesses

The Wheeling Board of Zoning Appeals passed two applicant requests at Thursday’s meeting – including one related to a new photography business on 14th Street.

Beginning with old business, the board reviewed Dan Brown’s application for a conditional use permit and variance to reduce the mandatory off-street parking requirement from three spaces to zero at the 3638-3640 Eoff St. old church property he plans to repurpose as a business.

“We tabled your proposal largely, I think, because it was unclear to the board what you had proposed to do with your space,” Board Chairman Martin Sheehan said, adding the board had also suggested Brown meet with city Assistant Economic and Community Development Director Tom Connelly.

While Brown communicated with Connelly via email since the last meeting, he also turned to his project planner for assistance. Reinforcing his property purpose as a warehouse space, the applicant provided the board with a larger version of the site plan.

Board member David Ellwood noticed the plan’s four new paved non-compliant parking spots near an alley which Connelly explained still requires a variance. Due to the nature of his business, Brown does not expect many people parking in the spots. Further, the two delivery vehicles he does rely on would not take up any street parking.

All five members of the board approved Brown’s conditional use permit and variance request.

Introducing new business, the board invited applicant James Wright to the podium. For the top floor property at 92 14th St. that Wright plans to use as a photography studio, he requested a variance to reduce the required number of off-street parking spaces from three to one.

After Sheehan asked the applicant to speak about similar properties in the area, Wright mentioned law offices and other businesses such as Good Mansion Wines.

“This is an area of the city in which I happen to have a law office. I am familiar with the parking issues here. This is an area where structures go from lot to lot and parking is restricted,” Sheehan said about historical development posing limitations on additions such as parking lots.

Because the business would run by appointment only and most work would be on-site at weddings, Wright reminded members that any kind of increased burden to the community would be less than if the property was used as a dwelling. Additionally, most of the studio’s use time would be during the weekend or after normal business hours.

The board unanimously granted Wright his request for variance.