Draft for Comprehensive Plan Out for Public View
WHEELING – A draft of Wheeling’s new comprehensive plan is now available for public view, but there’s plenty of work left to do before City Council can vote to adopt it.
The 86-page draft plan, which is the result of months of meetings, public input sessions and back-and-forth discussions with the city’s consultant, Compass Point Planning, is available for public review at theintelligencer.net.
In addition to having the document available online, there will be two public meetings Monday for residents to meet with the city’s consultant and make suggestions that may be incorporated into the final plan. Those meetings will take place at noon and 6 p.m. in the auditorium at West Virginia Northern Community College’s B&O Building.
The plan is separated into four main sections, dealing with background, the community’s vision for the future, recommendations and implementation strategies for those recommendations.
Tom Connelly, assistant director of Wheeling’s Economic and Community Development Department, said the lack of clear implementation strategies is one of the biggest weaknesses of the current plan, which hasn’t been updated since 1997.
The updated plan will identify who should be responsible for following through with various aspects of the plan and set up a framework for the city to gauge its progress in implementing the plan’s suggestions.
“We don’t just want to have goals put out there that are unattainable,” Connelly said. “We need to have a strategy in place.”
Following Monday’s meetings, the next step will be for the city’s Planning Commission to conduct a formal public hearing and recommend the plan for adoption by City Council. That will probably happen Oct. 20, Connelly said, based on notice requirements under state law.
After the Planning Commission recommendation, City Council will hold its own public hearing on the plan, after which it will have three options: Adopt the plan as is, reject it or amend it. Final adoption of the plan is likely to happen at council’s first meeting in December, Connelly said.
By state law, Wheeling has until the end of the year to update its plan, based on a 2004 state law requiring cities do so at least once every 10 years.
Wheeling is paying Compass Point Planning $81,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money to help craft the plan.