CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston's Municipal Planning Commission gave initial approval to an 11-lot subdivision close to 1531 Connell Road in the city's South Hills neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.
The development will cover about 4.5 acres. Three existing houses on the property will be demolished.
Builder J.D. Stricklen, who is a non-voting member of the commission, brought the proposal to the board. His company, Stricklen Realty, will be responsible.
"What we're trying to do . . . is use the natural topography of the lots," Stricklen said.
The lots will be accessible by one entrance road that ends in a cul-de-sac.
Other South Hills residents raised concerns about the project, though.
Dr. Thompson Pearcy owns property adjacent to the proposed subdivision, and said he wanted to make sure the property lines were correctly identified before lots were sold. He said he fully supported the project otherwise.
His sister, Elizabeth Pearcy-Pratt, said she was concerned about fill dirt in the subdivision and how that would affect erosion and runoff onto the Pearcy property, which is downhill.
"These are all fairly level lots," Stricklen said. "We don't anticipate hauling dirt on-site."
Pearcy-Pratt wasn't the only one concerned with erosion though. Susie Salisbury, who is also a Republican city councilwoman representing a South Hills ward, said she experienced significant runoff on her property after Stricklen built the Suncrest subdivision.
"I've lost six trees," she said. "I have a swamp on another part of my property."
Salisbury said Stricklen was very accommodating when the drainage issues started, but she told the planning commission to be careful when considering development in South Hills.
"He did exactly what the city recommended he do," she said. "My concern is there are other developments it's not going to work in."
Stricklen said the new subdivision is a different situation because of the topography and different drainage system.
"We've looked at this and we feel very comfortable," he said.
City Planning Director Dan Vriendt said the planning department reviewed the proposal and recommended it be approved.
"The new and existing infrastructure will be able to handle the development," he said.