Neighbors Speak Against Ventures

WHEELING – It appears a developer will not be dissuaded from doing something with a wooded hillside in Woodsdale.

And Warwood residents also are still concerned about a planned frack water treatment facility moving into their neighborhood.

Despite City Council on Tuesday upholding the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny a zone change request for the 95 wooded acres for commercial use, GC&P Development stated in a letter given to council minutes before the meeting that it had formally withdrawn its commercial rezoning request and hopes the city eventually will approve a residential development instead.

But residents who formed the group Woodsdale United continued to express concern about the developer’s plans. Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey denied a request from the audience that the entire letter be read aloud.

Woodsdale resident Karen Cox, who has a master’s degree in forestry management, said there are many benefits to having wooded areas in a city, including reduction of stormwater erosion.

“Don’t underestimate the value this woodland provides to the city of Wheeling,” she said.

Meanwhile, council also heard from several Warwood residents who still are concerned about GreenHunter Energy’s plan to open a frack water recycling plant at the former Seidler’s Oil Service property on North 28th Street. Residents said they want council to consider not allowing the plant to open because they are concerned about potential leaks they believe will cause health problems. They also are concerned about increased truck traffic – something they say already is plaguing the neighborhood.

Robert Slabaugh said he lives a “stone’s throw” from the proposed site. He said being afflicted with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema increases his worries about dust caused by trucks traveling to and from the facility.

Warwood resident Robin Mahonen said one reason she moved to Wheeling 22 years ago was because she wanted a healthier place than Los Angeles to raise her family.

“I’m asking you, the City Council of Wheeling, to be among those governmental agencies that say ‘no’ to these companies that want to come in and shove these things down our throats,” she said. “Take a stand to protect our children and our families.”

Sandra Cowden said she wants council to protect residents’ property, air and water. She also complained about dust created by gas industry-related trucks.

Resident Tom Triveri gave council members copies of studies conducted in Texas and New York on the impact of volatile organic compounds released into the air from such sites.

“I’m not just worried about water, I’m worried about the air and anything you inhale and the specific risk of cancer,” Triveri said.

Warwood resident Casey Forsch said he is opposed to the plant and wants to know more about the final product it would produce.

“The self-containment system concerns me. … Is this a new tank, or would they be repurposing an old Seidler oil tank? If it’s an old tank, I have concerns about its integrity,” Forsch said.

While no council member or city official commented Tuesday, City Manager Robert Herron said previously that GreenHunter would still have to submit a zoning application to make sure its plan conforms with the Industrial zoning code.