Giving People Chance to Speak

It is a safe bet that many of those involved in the controversy over a proposed new bank office in the Edgwood neighborhood of Wheeling wish the matter was over and done with. Yet Wheeling City Council members, who many had expected would vote on the issue this week, were right to table it.

For months, the proposal for a zone change at the corner of 1154 National Road and 2 Laurel Avenue has been in dispute. It is occupied by a structure once used as a church, but which has fallen into disrepair. A bank proposes establishing a branch, with a drive-through facility, on the land.

Many of those who live in the neighborhood oppose that. In March, members of the city Planning Commission voted to recommend that council not grant the zone change.

Council members discussed the proposal during their Tuesday meeting, hearing from attorneys who represent the bank and from a number of people who do not want it in their neighborhood. A petition bearing more than 200 signatures of those who oppose the plan was presented.

Then, Councilman Ty Thorngate, who represents the ward where the land in question is located, moved to table the matter without a vote on whether to approve the zone change. Council voted unanimously to postpone a vote until at least Sept. 17, when council is scheduled to meet again.

As Thorngate noted, the Tuesday meeting began at noon. For that reason, some people who may have wanted to express their views were not able to attend. Postponing action until Sept. 17, when the meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., could give more people opportunities to speak.

In the spirit of transparency and participation by the public in municipal government, that was the right thing to do.


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