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It takes a community to find a new path

The City of Weirton is in the process of updating its Comprehensive Development Plan. This is a document, required by state law, which directs zoning in the city and provides a guideline for future growth.

The current CDP was crafted around 2000, and then used to establish the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. It was never meant to go unchanged. Adjustments have to be made, just as the community adjusts.

Weirton is not the same city today that was here in 2000. The business community is different, the population is different, the appearance of many neighborhoods is different.

Many are working on providing new opportunities for this city, and those opportunities need a new map.

That’s where the development plan comes in.

But a plan such as this cannot be created simply by government officials. It needs input and support from the entire community.

As was reported in this newspaper Thursday, consultants will hold a series of public hearings and provide other opportunities to collect feedback from residents.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Weirton Planning Commission, two residents were in attendance. They offered some comments, and that’s great, but there needs to be more.

Planning Commission meetings are open to the public. Their date and time are posted on the city’s website each month. Anyone can attend and make comment on the issue.

This is about setting out a future path for the city, figuring out ways to attract business and residents, showcasing what Weirton has to offer.

There are positives here, even though a lot of times we only hear about the negatives.

So, this all ties in to a big suggestion for the entire community. Think about the things you like about Weirton. Then think about the things you don’t like. Make a list. Take pictures. Encourage your family and neighbors to do the same.

Then, attend one of the public hearings or any of the Planning Commission meetings over the next several months.

This process is not going to happen overnight. It will take time. That doesn’t mean anyone should wait, though.

We all have things we like about our hometowns. Perhaps it is the education system, the parks, the available businesses or community activities.

I’m sure everyone also has something they would like to see here, whether that is a new business, activities for our youth or a concern about the zoning process itself.

Yes, ultimately council will have the final say, but that doesn’t mean the citizens should be dissuaded from having their input.

The future of Weirton, and any community for that matter, is in the hands of its residents. This is one situation where everyone truly has an opportunity to have a say.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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