Wellsburg planners set open house for Monday

WELLSBURG – The Wellsburg Planning Commission is working with law students at West Virginia University to develop a plan for development and is seeking input from the public.

The planning commission and Jared Anderson, a professor with WVU’s Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic; will answer questions and hear comments at an open house to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Wellsburg Salvation Army headquarters at 401 Commerce St.

Mayor Sue Simonetti said the planning commission also will hold its regular meeting there at 5:30 p.m., and the public also is welcome to attend it. Chaired by 2nd Ward Councilman Brian Tennant, the board normally meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at Wellsburg City Hall.

She said the Salvation Army headquarters was deemed to have more space and is handicap-accessible.

Those interested in attending the open house may visit at any time during the 90 minutes.

Simonetti noted the planning commission has teamed with Anderson and law students with the clinic to develop a comprehensive plan outlining areas with potential for development and infrastructure, utilities and other elements needed to accommodate that.

Under state law, all municipalities with zoning codes must adopt a comprehensive plan by July 1.

Anderson told the planning commission in August the plan shouldn’t be confused with zoning as it doesn’t limit use of land, including private development.

But it does identify potential areas for development while including elements supporting that, such as infrastructure, housing and financing, he said.

Anderson said through federal funding, the clinic has helped 15 other counties and municipalities to develop comprehensive plans.

The clinic also will be working with the city’s urban development authority to establish a redevelopment plan involving the acquisition and rehabilitation of unused property for new development.

The urban development authority has applied for a $200,000 federal grant to conduct environmental assessments of brownfields in the city.

Brownfields are former industrial and business sites whose future use is hindered by perceived or real contamination problems.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com)