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Take Time On GC&P Proposal

A massive development project first aired publicly in 2013 has been reborn in Wheeling. The question now is whether city officials will allow construction to proceed.

When the owners of land on a ridge south of Warden Run Road in Wheeling revealed plans to develop the area about six years ago, there was public outcry from some residents of the Woodsdale neighborhood. Since then, little has been heard about the proposal.

But on Monday evening, members of the Wheeling Planning Commission heard a new plan, from GC&P Development. It is to use about 100 acres of land on the hill for a major “mixed-use village.” It would include 77,300 square feet of commercial space and 88 residential lots.

For the proposal to proceed, planning commission members will have to consider both an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan and possibly zoning changes. Wheeling City Council would have the final say.

It is likely the developers will face more opposition from some residents of the Woodsdale area, possibly including city Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday, who represents the Woodsdale area. Scatterday, also a member of the planning commission, was involved in the “Woodsdale United” group that opposed development in 2013.

This time around, GC&P Development appears more willing to discuss details of the idea with planning commission members. Six years ago, precisely what type of development was planned was not made clear in public. Neither was how construction would affect the land.

The effect would be dramatic. Planning commission members were told Monday that about 9 million cubic yards of soil and rock would have to be removed from the hill. The average decrease in elevation would be about 100 feet.

That sort of enormous change in topography will be controversial.

Obviously, planning commission members need to ask many detailed questions. Their first opportunity to do that will come during a Sept. 9 meeting.

But given the enormity of the project, controversy over it and the potential ramifications, commissioners will need professional help to interpret the information they receive.

They should take their time in reviewing the proposal and listening to public input on it. This one is too big to rush.

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