Construction picking up on Wheeling's Philhaven development

 
 
Updated 11/29/2015 3:36 PM
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  • Construction has picked up on Wheeling's Philhaven development, which will offer housing for people who are disabled, mentally ill and previously homeless. While trees have been removed from the land, a Wheeling official says the developers plan to plant other trees as part of their landscaping plan.

      Construction has picked up on Wheeling's Philhaven development, which will offer housing for people who are disabled, mentally ill and previously homeless. While trees have been removed from the land, a Wheeling official says the developers plan to plant other trees as part of their landscaping plan. Erin Hegarty | Staff Photographer

  • Wheeling's Philhaven development has faced tough scrutiny since it was first proposed. As construction picks up, one resident says that construction vehicles sometimes park in no parking areas on the neighborhood streets.

      Wheeling's Philhaven development has faced tough scrutiny since it was first proposed. As construction picks up, one resident says that construction vehicles sometimes park in no parking areas on the neighborhood streets. Erin Hegarty | Staff Photographer

Construction on Wheeling's Philhaven Development, a project that's faced scrutiny since it was introduced in 2012, is picking up as crews clear the land just off Hintz Road.

Crews broke ground on the project in June, but only started clearing trees off the land earlier this fall.

Wheeling Director of Community Development Andrew Jennings says workers now are getting the site at 2418 East Hintz Road ready to excavate for utilities and the building's foundation.

Jessica Berzac, vice president for Philhaven developer Daveri Development, says crews will work through the winter and she expects the apartment building will open in late fall 2016.

One Wheeling resident who lives in the neighboring Lakeside Villas townhouse subdivision is worried about the impact of the work on the 50-unit development.

Bonnie Stangland says she and her neighbors have noticed more construction vehicles on the neighborhood streets over the past two weeks. The trucks, she says, park on both sides of the curved Lakeside Circle Drive, making it difficult to see oncoming traffic.

"We have an abundance of cars in the neighborhood to begin with," Stangland said. "Residents have to follow parking restrictions to the letter, and so should the construction crews."

Several trees that were at least 30 years old also were removed without any notice to residents, she said.

Jennings said Daveri plans on replanting some of the trees and bringing in new vegetation as part of the project's landscape plan.

"The larger trees are being retained and they're leaving room for them in the front of their property," Jennings said.

Many of the trees that were removed were ash and Chinese elm trees, and both are considered "low-quality" trees, he added.

Jennings says he hasn't received many complaints about the construction.

Lakeside Villas Homeowners Association President Suzy Reingold agreed there's nothing wrong with the tree removal.

"That is their property, they're allowed to remove the trees," she said.

The development will give housing opportunities to people who are disabled, mentally ill or previously homeless.

The plan initially encountered sharp opposition from residents and the village board, which twice voted down the proposal. In response, Daveri sued the village in federal court, and when a judge made it clear he would likely side with the developer, Wheeling officials approved the development plan and paid Daveri a $230,000 settlement.

Once Philhaven opens, residents will be charged on a sliding scale so not more than 30 percent of their income goes for rent. Tenants will have access to counseling and 24-hour security and monitoring. They also will receive help when it comes to finding jobs and eventually moving back into the community outside of Philhaven.

Stangland says she doesn't have a problem with the idea of Philhaven, but is just unhappy with the construction.

"I just think that they need to be a little more considerate that people live here," she said.

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