PARKERSBURG - Members of the Municipal Planning Commission voted unanimously to rezone the Henry Logan Children's Home property from a business and residential zone to a strictly business zone. The zoning move will clear the way for the development of a proposed hotel on the site.
Members of the Municipal Planning Commission met Friday afternoon, along with an MPH hotel representative, an engineer and several concerned residents who raised dozens of questions about the proposed hotel.
About a dozen residents from the neighborhood attended the meeting, about half of whom addressed the commission with questions and concerns. Most centered around property values, landscaping and traffic.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Mark Welch, project architect with Pickering and Associates, and Belinda Glodowski, general manager of the Wingate Hotel in Vienna (an MPH Hotel), speak with the Municipal Planning Commission Friday. In the background are residents Michael Mitchell, Dan Selario, Carol Selario and Brian Brown who raised questions and concerns about the project.
Dan Selario, who owns a home adjacent to the property, told commission members the project seemed to be moving at a rapid pace, without input from residents.
"The hotel is a positive thing, but the neighborhood should have some input."
Planning Director Rickie Yeager explained Friday's meeting was the first time the project was discussed in a public forum. Yeager explained the commission's recommendation would be forwarded on to Parkersburg City Council, which will consider the ordinance over the course of its next two meetings.
Belinda Glodowski, general manager of the Wingate Hotel in Vienna (an MPH Hotel), said the hotel borders a neighborhood in Vienna.
"We are very good neighbors," she said. "We are open to any questions."
She said the proposed hotel would be a "really nice hotel" with a "premier" name.
Glodowski was accompanied by Mark Welch, project architect from Pickering and Associates. They provided commission officials with preliminary plans of the property, which includes a three-story hotel with privacy fence and landscape buffer, additional retaining walls and an ingress and egress for the property from Emerson Avenue.
Michael Mitchell and Carol Selario both questioned the property values of their homes if the project proceeds. Brian Brown was concerned about increased traffic and noise. Mitchell was also concerned about losing the view of the Memorial Bridge and the Ohio River.
Assistant City Attorney Rob Tebay said the residents had a lot of valid concerns and legitimate questions, but they had nothing to do with the issue of rezoning.
"A lot of what you are asking about is good neighbor relations," he said. "Keep in mind you could have had an apartment building there."
"Keep in mind, this is our first opportunity to ask questions," Mitchell said.
"If this was an apartment complex you wouldn't have that opportunity," Tebay added.
City council member Sharon Lynch, who is a member of the commission, said she toured the site and looked at the area from residents' property. Lynch said she did not foresee it obstructing their view.
City councilman John Rockhold, whose district includes the property and residential area, also attended the meeting and met with concerned residents afterward.
Welch told residents developers, who have built at least three other hotels in the area, have previously installed landscaping along with the five-foot vinyl privacy fence. bordering resident property.
"I imagine we would do that again," he said.
Tebay recommended the commission include a sunset clause in the motion to rezone the property, so if the development did not happen, the property would revert to the its previous zoning designation.
City Development Director Ann Conageski made the motion to rezone the property to include the buffer zones and additional greenspace - which must be specified before construction can begin. Conageski's motion also stated if the property is not started within two years, the applicants must come back and reapply to change the zoning.
The motion was approved, 10-0. The matter will go before Parkersburg City Council for first reading at its Nov. 27 meeting.