Draft plan presented to Weirton officials for a review

WEIRTON — The Weirton Planning Commission was presented Wednesday with a draft copy of the city’s new Comprehensive Development Plan, with a request to review the document in the coming weeks before finalizing its approval and implementation.

Under state law, municipalities are required to update their comprehensive plan every 10 years. Weirton’s was last updated in 2000. The plan serves as a guide for zoning and planning regulations in the city.

Amy Wiles, lead senior planner from Mackin Engineering, which has been contracted for the plan update, presented the draft to the commission, asking them to review its contents and bring any suggestions to the regular June meeting.

“At that time, we’ll go through the implementation plan,” Wiles said.

In order to implement the Comprehensive Development Plan, both the Planning Commission and Weirton Council must hold public hearings before approving the document.

Commission Chair Chuck Robinson told members to be thorough in their reviews, bringing any concerns to the staff of the city’s Planning and Development Department.

“Take your time going through this,” Robinson said.

Robinson, noting he and John Porco are the only commission members remaining from when the current plan was developed, said they want to ensure what is included is what is intended for new regulations.

Wiles explained the draft takes a wider view of future plans for the city, not going into minute detail in order to serve as more of a flexible guide.

“I was trying to get the big picture, the concepts, the goals,” Wiles said, adding there are opportunities to make revisions if conditions in the city merit them. “This isn’t set in stone for the next 10 years.”

Planning and Development Director Mark A. Miller said the plan will serve as a framework for development and zoning.

Wiles said large employers in the city have had input and the suggestions in the draft fall in line with their plans.

Information from a series of public hearings, focus group meetings and surveys with the public also has been used in developing the draft.

Robinson noted once the comprehensive plan is completed and approved, the city next will have to update its Unified Development Ordinance.

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