Wheeling Planning Commission Approves Parking Lot for Good Shepherd Nursing Home

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WHEELING — The city’s Planning Commission approved a permit that would allow a nursing home in Edgwood to tear down three vacant houses it owns to build a parking lot.

The commission unanimously approved a site plan review for the properties, at 158, 158 1/2 and 160 Edgington Lane, which involves the construction of a parking lot across the street from Good Shepherd Nursing Home.

The body also approved a special use permit for the properties in a 5-1 vote, with commission member and Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday voting against the permit. The permit would allow accessory parking in a residential zone on the properties.

“I normally want to protect the residential integrity of neighborhoods but I think the reality is you have a dominant feature that controls the neighborhood,” Commissioner Howard Monroe said. “Good Shepherd is a dominant feature there no matter what else is happening. They have always handled things well, they’ve prepared this well. It clearly is needed.”

Donald Kirsch, administrator of the nursing home, said at the meeting that the 39-space parking lot is necessary to accommodate people visiting the facility’s 192 residents. Currently, the only parking lot for the home is on the south end of the property, far from its main entrance.

“We had hoped that if we could develop a second parking lot across the street, we would be able to better serve our residents and the neighborhood at large,” Kirsch said.

The commission previously approved a special use permit for 160 Edgington Lane in September, but Good Shepherd recently acquired the two other properties, he said.

The commission heard from several residents at the meeting regarding the Edgington Lane properties, all of whom spoke in favor of the project, with some asking a few questions about the matter.

Residents who spoke generally agreed that on-street parking is congested on that part of Edgington Lane and that the lot would be helpful. Others questioned whether lighting from the lot would carry onto their homes or whether the six proposed drains on the lot would cause stormwater problems.

“I support this proposal 110 percent,” resident Bob Miller said. “It’s gotten to be really difficult. It’s still an issue with the parking.”

In response to lighting concerns, Kirsch showed a diagram of the proposed parking lot demonstrating that light spread would be minimal.

In addition, Commissioner and Public Works Director Russell Jebbia said that concerns about stormwater retention on the proposed lot were looked at and effects would be minimal due to the small size of the properties, about a third of an acre.

“It’s not a major concern of the engineering department,” Jebbia said. “When we looked at it, it didn’t look like there was going to be a retention issue. So I don’t really see a problem with the drainage issue.”

Also at the meeting, the Planning Commission discussed a proposed zoning change regarding plans to tear down a vacant church in Edgwood to build a bank. The matter will be up for a second public hearing at the commission’s next meeting on March 11.

The properties’ owner, Thomas Tuttle, originally requested that the zoning for the former church buildings be changed from residential to commercial as part of a plan to sell them to be used as a bank with drive-thru service. The commission first considered the matter at a public hearing in January and requested a traffic study be conducted.

The results of that traffic study were then discussed at the commission’s Zoning Committee meeting on Feb. 4, in which the committee recommended a denial of the zoning change.

The applicant recently changed the zoning request to be for an EMO, or educational, medical and office, district that would limit the types of businesses allowed to use the properties, said Tom Connelly, Wheeling’s assistant director of economic and community development. The change was made to alleviate some residents’ concerns that any type of business could replace the bank if it closes.

In addition, the commission unanimously approved two class II home occupation requests at the meeting, one for operating an in-home bakery at 49 Pleasant Drive and another for operating a one-chair beauty shop at 38 Arcadia Avenue.

The body also voted to give preliminary approval for a proposed employee parking lot at the corner of 20th Street and Market Street.

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