With Wheeling City Council set to vote in a few weeks on a proposed street relocation to make way for a hotel expansion project, nearby residents tried one last time Tuesday to convince city leaders to nix the plan.
Hampton Inn already has received clearance to build two additional stories onto the existing five-story structure on Park Road off U.S. 40 in Woodsdale. But in order to provide additional parking for the resulting additional 26 rooms and suites, the hotel needs to move Corliss Terrace Road - the only access point for residents of Corliss Avenue, the private drive on the hill overlooking the hotel.
The hotel's plan calls for the road to be moved about 75 feet closer to the condominium complex on Park Road. This means the road would have to curve in order to connect to the private Corliss Avenue, which residents believe will have an adverse effect on emergency response time.
City Manager Robert Herron said the lane abandonment is contingent upon the hotel building the new street to city code - something that isn't true of the existing Corliss Terrace Road, which dates back to 1915 - and turning it over to the city.
"They cannot do anything on that street until they build the new one and it's accepted as a city street," he said.
In response to an inquiry from Councilman David Miller, Herron added that the city's fire and Public Works departments have reviewed plans for the new road and have no concerns about access for emergency vehicles and snow plows.
Despite Herron's assurances, Corliss Avenue resident Doug Huff believes the new road will increase emergency response time and pose a hazard to traffic because it's too close to other outlets onto Park Road. And with parking for patrons on both sides of the proposed new Corliss Terrace Road, it will no longer be just Corliss Avenue residents using it, as was the case for decades, he said.
"My biggest complaint is that the dumpster will be passed every time we use this road," said Huff's wife, Jean, who added she would like to see the hotel move their trash bin to the other end of the property.
Fellow Corliss Avenue resident Jan Coulling called the expansion "very invasive" for residents on her street. With hotel parking surrounding the new road, she said it will "feel like we're trespassing" every time they leave or return to their homes.
Council likely will vote on the lane abandonment Jan. 7.