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Senior Apartment Complex Proposed in South Wheeling

Woda Cooper Development Vice President Thomas Simons, right, and company attorney Ronald Musser present an aerial site plan at the Wheeling Planning Commission meeting Monday night that shows a proposed senior apartment complex in the 3700 block of Jacob Street in South Wheeling.

WHEELING — A zoning change for an industrial lot in South Wheeling could pave the way for a new senior apartment complex.

The Wheeling Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday night to change four parcels in the 3700 block of Jacob Street from I-2 industrial into R-4 residential zoning that could allow for a 39-unit, four-story senior complex proposed by Woda Cooper Development of Columbus.

The Jacob Street property, which abuts 37th Street and an alley near Ritchie Elementary School, was previously zoned commercial, but changed to industrial last summer when its current owners proposed building a warehouse there. Those owners, J&B Properties LLC, have a sale pending to Woda contingent upon the senior apartment complex plans being approved by the city.

Woda’s attorney, Ronald Musser, presented an aerial site plan that showed the rear of the apartment complex on Jacob Street and the front entrance with its 20 parking spaces facing the alley. Some members of the commission were concerned about the lack of parking, but Musser said they have options to build additional parking lots on two adjacent parcels they hope to purchase.

“They’ve done a lot of projects in many states, and people have been happy with them,” Musser said.

Commission Chairman James Mauck also raised an issue with several occupied and abandoned houses along the alley that would be close to the complex.

Thomas Simons, a vice president with Woda Cooper Development, told the commission that the original site plan they saw Monday night is not the final product. However, the building’s footprint would be similar because the number of units needed for the project must remain at 39 to secure grant funding.

“If we get it back into residential (zoning) … we can get it into final design,” Simons said. “This is more conceptual.”

Despite the concerns over parking and proximity to the other houses, Mauck said more changes could be made to the project before receiving final approval.

“We’ve worked with Woda before,” Mauck said. “They appear to be good neighbors. Haven’t heard any complaints. They care for the neighborhoods in which they locate.”

The zoning change passed 6-0 with commissioners Martha Wright, Thomas Conner, Rusty Jebbia, William Schwartz, Wendy Scatterday and Jeremy West voting in favor of it. Commissioners Howard Monroe and Christina Schessler were absent, and Mauck did not vote because it was unanimous.

Also during the meeting, the planning commission decided to wait another month to discuss an amendment to Wheeling’s 2014 comprehensive plan to create a special area for GC&P Development LLC’s proposed “mixed-use village” on a hilltop in the Woodsdale neighborhood of Wheeling.

The 100-acre property is currently zoned residential and designated for conservation development. But GC&P wants to create a 50- to 55-acre mixed-use development on the hilltop with commercial, residential, office and institutional space and improve the W.Va. 88 “corridor” near the site.

The amendment had been tabled following the board’s Oct. 21 meeting, but the commissioners said they still had not received a traffic study on the W.Va. 88 corridor from the state. The commissioners expect to discuss the amendment at their next meeting on Dec. 16.

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