City Looking for Some Comprehensive Help

WHEELING – If you know the Friendly City in and out and are passionate about its future, the Wheeling Planning Commission wants to hear from you.

As city officials look to hire an outside consultant to help them update the city’s comprehensive plan, the steering committee tasked with guiding the process is reaching out to residents who are interested in serving on that committee. Wheeling has until the end of 2014 to come up with a new document, since the state Legislature in 2004 passed a law requiring municipalities to update their plans once every 10 years.

The group, which includes Planning Commissioners Howard Monroe, James Mauck Jr., former Councilman Barry Crow and current Councilman Don Atkinson, is looking to add another four to six members, according to Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development Tom Connelly. Residents likely will have multiple chances to provide input through public forums throughout the process, which is expected to take about 18 months – but those who serve on the steering committee will work closely with the consulting firm and planning commissioners to guide the process from beginning to end.

“We’re looking to them to bring their experience to the committee. … It would be nice to have a new perspective on some of the issues we’re going to be dealing with,” he said.

Connelly said anyone interested should send an e-mail to with “CompPlan” in the subject line or a letter addressed to: Comprehensive Plan Committee, 1500 Chapline Street Room 305, Wheeling, WV 26003. Letters of interest should summarize the applicant’s background, availability and why he or she is interested in serving, Connelly said.

A response is preferred by Feb. 11, when the Planning Commission is next scheduled to meet.

The plan, which hasn’t been updated since 1997, is a broad document that includes provisions for land use, housing, transportation, recreation, historic preservation and more. As such, the committee is looking for members who know the city and its government well – but who are passionate about Wheeling as a whole and not looking to push a specific project or agenda, said Connelly.

Because the process is rather involved and will take some time to complete, Connelly said flexibility is a must for those interested in serving on the committee.

“Once we get into the full swing of things … once, maybe twice a month to be available for meetings,” he said of the anticipated commitment that will be required.