Judge New Plan Based on Merits

Neither Wheeling City Council nor the municipal Planning Commission had any responsible choice in action they took regarding a request for clearance to develop a 95-acre tract of land just off Bethany Pike.

Now the same partnership may be considering another plan. It needs to be handled in much the same way as the initial proposal.

Earlier this year, local resident Kevin Coyne and his partner, Doug Grayson, asked the Planning Commission to approve a change in the zoning designation for land they own in the Woodsdale neighborhood, on a hillside off Bethany Pike. Coyne and Grayson said their company, GC&P Development, needed the land to be given a commercial zoning designation in order to proceed with a business venture there.

But Coyne and Grayson said they could not provide details of the plan, because that might jeopardize its success.

Dozens of people attended the Planning Commission meeting to oppose the proposal. Commission members said that without knowing more about what was planned, they could not recommend City Council approve the zoning change.

This week, Council took action in effect upholding the Planning Commission decision. But during the meeting, Vice Mayor Gene Fahey said he had been notified by letter that GC&P Development had withdrawn its request.

Instead of the initial plan, the company may seek approval for a residential development on the 95 acres, Fahey noted.

While that might be preferable to the original proposal for commercial development, it still needs to be scrutinized carefully by city officials.

Ninety-five acres is a large tract of land for any sort of development, after all. And, as is the case with any proposal, large or small, both positive and negative effects need to be weighed.

That said, municipal officials’ duty is to serve the people of Wheeling, and progress benefits everyone in the community directly or indirectly – if it does not adversely affect those already living here. That will be the bottom line in considering any new plan for development.