WHEELING - Planning Commission members on Monday approved Hampton Inn's plan to expand the parking area at its hotel in the Woodsdale section of Wheeling - a plan that has some area residents upset over its proposed relocation of a city street.
The vote was 5-1, with Thomas McCullough casting the lone no vote. Commission members Russell Jebbia, Michael Leo, James Mauck Jr., John Clarke and Councilman Don Atkinson voted to approve the site plan. Barry Crow was absent, and Chairman Howard Monroe only votes to break a tie.
The Wheeling Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday approved a zoning variance allowing the hotel to expand from five stories to seven. During that meeting, several residents of Corliss Avenue - a private drive on the hill overlooking the hotel - opposed the expansion plan, saying the additional activity in full view of their homes will be detrimental to property values.
"Since Thursday, we've made some adjustments as a result of the public input," said Rick Foose of Kayafas Architects, which is designing the proposed $5-6 million expansion project.
Those adjustments include the relocation of a proposed receiving area, a softening of the curve leading up to the private drive on the new Corliss Terrace Road, as well as additional landscaping to serve as a buffer between the homes and the hotel's maintenance building and garbage pickup area.
Mauck asked Foose to address a number of issues, including the slope of the proposed new Corliss Terrace Road and the nature of lighting for the parking area.
Foose said the relocated Corliss Terrace Road would rise about three feet in elevation over a length of roughly 200 feet from Park Road to its connection with Corliss Avenue. He acknowledged he did not have specifics on lighting fixtures, but assured commission members they would comply with city code.
The fire department also believes its vehicles would have no trouble accessing Corliss Avenue from the relocated Corliss Terrace Road, according to Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development Tom Connelly.
The site plan also depicts the relocation of an outlet from the condominiums on Park Road located between the Hampton Inn and Wheeling Country Day School. Instead of pulling directly onto Park Road, vehicles would reach Park Road via a new exit onto the new Corliss Terrace Road.
Foose said the site plan was drawn up that way because they believed that was what residents of the condominiums wanted. He said it would avoid a possible safety hazard created by having two outlets onto Park Road so close to one another - but the existing driveway could be left alone if that's what residents prefer.
Even with Monday's site plan approval, City Council must approve a lane abandonment for the existing Corliss Terrace Road and accept the relocated road.