Save Sites for Industrial Use
Have you noticed that our fair city has been getting a large number of subsidized housing projects over the last three or four years? And unfortunately, some of those housing projects have been constructed on property that was previously zoned for industrial use. An example is the multiple housing units that were built on the site of the old LaBelle nail factory. That site was flat, out of the flood plain, and zoned for industrial/manufacturing. A prime site that could have been, and should have been, marketed for its intended use, thus creating good-paying jobs and tax dollars to support our city, county, and our state.
That housing development is now sitting smack dab in the middle of an industrial area with businesses such as Tri-State Machine, Strauss Industries, Kennedy Hardware, and Graybar Electric, to mention a few. Most people do not want to live in an industrial area, due to air and noise pollution, heavy traffic, and the appearance of the structures of their industrial neighbors. Now, the planning commission has unanimously approved another “spot zone of four parcels,” previously zoned for industry in south Wheeling, so someone can construct additional subsidized housing.
It’s been announced that another subsidized housing project is being proposed for an industrial zoned property near Neely’s grocery in East Wheeling. I hope common sense will prevail in both of these cases and council will refuse to pass ordinances permitting these zone changes. Is this the right thing to do? I, for one, think we are being short-sighted in an attempt to create an illusion of growth and prosperity at the expense of having sites to attract industrial and manufacturing businesses to Wheeling. Since I mentioned Neely’s, here’s a little trivia: Neely’s Grocery (currently owned and operated by the Miller brothers) has been in business for 63 years, and one of the best kept (not on purpose) secrets, they have the best hot dogs in the Tri-State area every wiener Wednesday.