Charleston planners approve UC request to close road

F. BRIAN FERGUSON | Gazette-Mail file photo

The municipal planning commission has approved a request from the University of Charleston to close a road near its campus.

UC requested the closure of a portion of 19th Street SE in order to expand Triana Field. The street closing will allow the university to reconfigure the baseball field and add practice and competitive fields for soccer and lacrosse. It also will allow the university to install bleachers for the fields.

The university will pay for installation of a turnaround on Kanawha Avenue where 19th Street currently intersects. They also will pay for the sanitary board to remove the sewer line that currently runs under the road.

The expansion of the field will also eliminate a parking lot next to the current field. According to plans submitted to the city, there will still be a small handicapped parking lot next to the new field.

There’s no timeline on when the project will be complete, but UC Chief of Staff Jerry Forster said they will soon begin fundraising.

The commission also gave final plat approval for a planned senior living facility off Corridor G.

The facility, tentatively named Crossings at Southridge, will be built on 9 acres of land currently owned by Bible Center Church, off Corridor G.

While the commission voted to approve the project, they had some concerns with how Bible Center Church and the center’s developer, Roanoke, Virginia-based Smith/Packett Med-Com, LLC, were handling communication with neighbors near the 9 acres of land they plan to develop the center on.

A small group of residents in the neighboring Yorktowne subdivision spoke out against the center, saying they would prefer the area to stay wooded. No community meetings had been held before Wednesday’s planning meeting, but one was planned at Bible Center Church later that night.

There will be a 100-foot vegetative buffer surrounding the facility. Steve Dawson, one of the Yorktowne residents who spoke at the meeting, said the 100-foot buffer would not be enough, as homes still may be able to have a full view of the building.

Mary Jean Davis, commissioner and at-large city councilwoman, said the lack of meetings have led to concerns with residents.

“When you meet with the neighbors first, you eliminate all of the hearsay and all of the rumors, and that’s what we have here today,” Davis said.

Reach Ali Schmitz at ali.schmitz@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4843 or follow @SchmitzMedia on Twitter.

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