Planning Commission OKs Senior Housing Development

The Wheeling Planning Commission on Monday gave the go-ahead for the Welty Corp. to build a dozen townhouse-style senior housing units where the old Kepner mansion once stood along National Road.

The decision to approve the site plan was unanimous, with commission members Barry Crow, Michael Leo Jr., James Mauck Jr., Councilman Don Atkinson and Martha Wright voting in favor. Public Works Director Russell Jebbia was absent, Chairman Howard Monroe only votes in case of a tie and there are now two vacancies on the nine-member commission with the expiration of John Clarke’s and Thomas McCullough’s terms June 30.

“I think this is an excellent project, and a much-needed project,” Crow said following the vote.

The development at 1287 National Road will be known as the Welty Village. According to the Welty Corp., there will be 11 two-bedroom townhomes and one three-bedroom unit, with target renters 65 and over. It will not be subsidized housing.

An architect’s plan shows three buildings with four units each arranged in a “U” shape around a central courtyard. Each unit will have a two-car garage with space for two more vehicles in the driveway, and the development will have five additional slots for a total 53 parking spaces.

A 20-foot-wide, one-way drive will wrap around the development from a single entrance point from National Road to a single exit point back onto National Road.

Atkinson, who lives in the adjacent Georgetown Apartments, said some of his neighbors have expressed concern over the potential removal of a line of trees that separates their development from the former Kepner property. Frank Dawson of the Pittsburgh-based architectural firm Astorino, which designed the plan, said some of them may need to be removed for site grading purposes.

“If it’s possible to save them, we’ll save them,” Dawson said.

Tom Connelly, assistant director of Wheeling’s Economic and Community Development Department, said he doesn’t believe Welty will need any zoning variances to proceed. Project manager Jeff Foreman, also with Astorino, said they hope to break ground by late fall, with construction expected to last about a year.

Welty Corp. purchased the old Kepner mansion in 2011.

The building had to be razed due to asbestos, mold and other hazards, and a deed restriction on the property prevented any new construction on the lot prior to this year.

In other business, Monroe suggested a letter of appreciation be sent to Clarke and McCullough for their years of service on the commission.

Following the meeting, Monroe said Clarke asked not to be reappointed, and he believes McCullough’s term was not extended due to absences for health reasons.