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Planning Commission Considers Medical Zone

May 15, 2012
By JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH City Editor , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Members of the Wheeling Planning Commission sought to protect the integrity of the city's residential neighborhoods with decisions made Monday.

David Holeczy, a resident of 31 Point View Terrace, asked the commission to approve a zoning amendment that would change his property from R-1C residential to one that would allow Educational, Medical or Office use. He said heavy traffic in the area causes him to be concerned about his young children when they are playing outdoors. As a result, he hopes to relocate and would like to market his property for use as a medical office.

Holeczy assured commissioners he has not reached an agreement with any buyer but noted many properties in the neighborhood are owned by Wheeling Hospital and are occupied by medical students. Others already house medical offices, he said.

No objections to the proposed change were raised during a public hearing. Planning Commissioner Howard Monroe, however, objected to the concept of "spot zoning" for a particular site. As a result, the commission decided to ask its zoning committee to instead consider changing the zoning of the entire area to EMO.

Tom Connelly, assistant director of development, said such a zone change would not prohibit any of the affected properties from remaining in residential use. He recommended Holeczy attend the next zoning meeting at 9:30 a.m. June 4.

Commissioners also heard from Keith Campbell, who was seeking a special use permit for accessory parking at 500 N. Huron St. on Wheeling Island. Campbell purchased the lot, which lies across the street from his home, and has parked a boat and several other pieces of equipment there. He stressed he strives to maintain the lot in a neat and orderly fashion and wants to avoid causing parking congestion in the neighborhood.

During a public hearing on the matter, Rick Bowers of 454 N. Huron St. asked how parking and traffic flow would be affected if Campbell installed a fence for screening as had been recommended.

He also expressed concern about neighborhood children playing on the equipment.

Stephanie Hall, acting president of the Island Community Association, objected to the special use permit, noting Island residents have worked for years to eliminate abandoned vehicles and unkempt lots from their neighborhood.

"I understand that people don't want to see a boat in their neighborhood," Monroe said.

Commissioners discussed Campbell's options and concluded the proposed use of the lot was for storage rather than accessory parking. They noted he could "rent a proper storage space" elsewhere or build a large garage on the site for storage and ultimately denied his request for a special use permit.

The commission approved a special use permit for 1222 Main St., the former DiCarlo's pizza site, to allow accessory parking for WesBanco Bank. Robert Fitzsimmons, a representative and member of property owner RKC 2 LLC, said the former business has been demolished and the lot paved. He said RKC 2 has reached a one-year lease agreement with WesBanco to use the site for employee parking and noted it is adjacent to other bank lots.

The commission also officially approved a resolution that will allow the West Virginia Division of Culture and History to install a 7-foot high wrought iron fence along the lawn at Independence Hall on Market Street. Officials at the museum had asked to install the fence to protect the historic site from vandalism. Approval was initially granted by the commission in March.

Finally, commissioners retroactively approved a site plan review for 910-912 Main St. to allow installation of wrought iron fence at the site. It is part of a Wheeling Organization, Training, Revitalization and Capacity project funded by a $1,000 donation from the city of Wheeling and a $1,000 contribution from the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. Commissioner Eugene Fahey recused himself from the discussion because he also serves as chairman of ON-TRAC.

The antique wrought iron fence once stood at the Hazel-Atlas Building in East Wheeling and has been erected beside the old Marsh Wheeling Building. Attached to the fence are shiny metal birds, created by Robert Villamagna, that once graced the Pocket Park on Main Street. The idea is to improve the gateways to the city.

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