Officials seek new ideas for city’s future

PLAN DISCUSSED — Amy Wiles, lead senior planner with Mackin Engineering, and Weirton Planning and Development Director Mark A. Miller, along with members of the Weirton Planning Commission, listen to discussions Wednesday of ideas for updating the city’s comprehensive development plan. Over the next 10 months, Mackin will be working to update the plan, which was put in place in 2000. -- Craig Howell

PLAN DISCUSSED — Amy Wiles, lead senior planner with Mackin Engineering, and Weirton Planning and Development Director Mark A. Miller, along with members of the Weirton Planning Commission, listen to discussions Wednesday of ideas for updating the city’s comprehensive development plan. Over the next 10 months, Mackin will be working to update the plan, which was put in place in 2000. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Weirton’s Comprehensive Development Plan forms the backbone of the city’s zoning and planning regulations, but city officials say some new ideas are needed for the document which was put in place almost 17 years ago.

On Wednesday, the process began with members of the Weirton Planning Commission and other city officials meeting representatives of Mackin Engineering, the Pittsburgh firm tasked with helping to create a new vision for the city’s future.

“We’ve been talking about the comprehensive plan for a while,” Weirton Planning and Development Director Mark A. Miller said. “We’re a couple of years behind and ready to move forward.”

City Manager Travis Blosser has explained the comprehensive plan is supposed to be updated every 10 years, and with the new plan officials want to create a path with realistic goals and ideas for the city to attract new opportunities while allowing existing assets to thrive.

“We didn’t want a plan with big ideas that are never going to happen,” Blosser said. “We want things we can get accomplished.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Brandi Rosselli, manager of planning services, and Amy Wiles, lead senior planner, discussed some of the process Mackin will be using as part of the update.

They outlined a three-phase process, estimated to take 10 months.

“It’s a fluid process. It’s not set in stone,” Rosselli said.

Rosselli explained they will be assisted by Duane Morris Government Strategies and the WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic to look at potential economic development sites and opportunities, as well as make certain all state regulations are being followed.

As part of the process, the Planning Commission will meet each month to receive updates, while public hearings also will be held and the consultants will be attending various community events, meeting with local organizations and residents, and using social media to gather information.

Wiles also encouraged city officials to offer suggestions on who should be involved locally in helping to craft the comprehensive plan, noting local businesses, civic groups and even the youth of the community should play a part.

“It’s our hope that the plan really is what the people want,” Wiles said.

Planning Commission Chair Chuck Robinson agreed, noting the current plan was developed with only a few entities involved, and the commission truly wants input from the entire community to set realistic goals.

“There’s a lot we have to look into to let people know we’re serious,” Robinson said.

The Planning Commission will hold its next meeting at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 15, with officials encouraging the public to attend.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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