WHEELING - Some Wheeling property owners who may want to open up their land for temporary housing to accommodate the local natural gas drilling boom now will be able to do so, after City Council unanimously passed new rules regarding trailer camps within city limits.
Prior to Tuesday's vote, Wheeling code did not permit any such new camps in the city, and the only existing one is on Bow Street. In amending an ordinance that hadn't been updated since 1955, council raised the annual license fee for temporary trailer camps from $2 per rental unit to $750, and the fee to transfer a license from $10 to $100.
Members also established several restrictions on such facilities aimed at alleviating concerns over safety and appearance, such as those that prompted Triadelphia Town Council to ban trailer camps earlier this year.
Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims, right, swears Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie into a second term in office Tuesday during a ceremony prior to City Council's meeting at West Virginia Independence Hall.
Photo by Ian Hicks
City Manager Robert Herron said new camps must be located on property zoned I-2 Industrial, be situated on a plot of land at least 1 acre in size divided into units no smaller than 1,200 square feet, comply with floodplain regulations and demonstrate adequate access to water and electricity and sewage and garbage disposal.
"Part of that permit process is they have to submit a restoration plan," Herron added.
When the issue first came before the city's Finance Committee in May, Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development Tom Connelly said he'd received several inquiries from interested property owners, including two in the areas of Rock Point Road and Peninsula Street.