Weirton city planners discuss UDO changes

WEIRTON – The city’s planning commission began Thursday’s meeting with a public hearing to consider three agenda items, including a land parcel subdivision, a rezoning request and a text amendment to the unified development ordinance.

Wanda Barkhurst proposed a subdivision and merger of three parcels of land that she owns. She explained she wanted to do this in order to transfer a section of the properties to her daughters without losing a portion of her backyard.

The properties are located along a private roadway off of Pennsylvania Avenue. Chief Code Official Rod Rosnick clarified that future development on the parcels would require variances from the Weirton Zoning Board because of public road access requirements. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the request.

R. Castelli Inc. of 4224 Freedom Way requested that a 38-acre property along Greenbrier Road be rezoned from a single-family residential district to a multi-family residential district. This action could allow for the development of an apartment complex instead of only single-family houses.

Attorney Eric Frankovitch spoke to the commission on behalf of R. Castelli Inc. and elaborated that his clients believe the property would be more marketable if it were considered a multi-family residential district. Commissioners voted to pass the rezoning request, but it must be approved by City Council at its regular meeting in April.

Lauttamus Investments LLC of 337 Penco Road requested an amendment to the unified development ordinance, which would require sidewalks on both sides of the street in planning development districts, including the Three Springs Drive area. The amendment would not be retroactive, which means sidewalks would not need to be added to previously existing structures. It would mean that all public roads constructed in planning development districts in the future would need to have sidewalks, Rosnick said.

Frankovitch, who also spoke on behalf of Lauttamus, said that sidewalks would make it easier for patrons to access businesses.

“I think it’s better for the community. I mean if you look at Three Springs Drive now, if you want to walk down the street you have to take your life in your hands,” he said.

Commissioners voted to approve the amendment, which will also be examined and voted on at next month’s City Council meeting.