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Don’t Change Zoning

Editor, News-Register:

Take a ride.

That’s right, jump in the car and take a ride. Travel the residential streets in Elm Grove, Warwood, Wheeling Island, Mozart, East and South Wheeling — actually in all the residential areas of our city.

What you will see is what I’ve seen: empty houses and apartment buildings, vacant commercial and industrial buildings, junk and abandoned cars, overgrown vacant lots littered with trash, numerous residential structures (some in excellent condition) with “For Sale” signs.

There is no shortage of housing units to justify the changing of the zoning codes (as recently recommended by a majority vote of the Planning Commission) so a developer can construct subsidized housing units.

And for the record, after an extensive study and evaluation, it was the recommendation of the economic development staff that the request for the zone change be denied. Sure, the new units fill up as fast as they’re built, and the reason why is they siphon off tenants from pre-existing, and older, subsidized housing.

That just creates another problem for the owners of the older housing units who can no longer attract tenants to their buildings.

I’ll admit I don’t know a lot about how the funding (your and my tax dollars), and tax credits from the state and federal governments (again our money) is justified and handed out, but I do know that it’s a good program gone bad. It’s someone “gaming the system” at the expense of the taxpayers.

With a city population of less than 27,000, that’s men, women, and children; with hundreds of vacant residential properties for sale, and/or for rent; encouraging additional subsidized housing, let alone re-zoning so it can happen, and giving developers huge tax credits and incentives is borderline criminal, and at a minimum a poor decision based on a skewed understanding of basic logic.

City Council will have the final say on this matter (17th Street re-zoning), and one would hope that they follow the recommendations of the economic development staff and deny the zone change.

P. Jacobs

Wheeling

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