After receiving conflicting opinions from citizens regarding the rezoning of properties along Walnut Street, Philippi City Council approved two related ordinances on first reading Tuesday.
One ordinance would amend the 1995 zoning ordinance that established Blocks 100 and 200 of Walnut Street as residential. If the ordinance passes on its second reading, the 14 affected properties in the historical zone of Philippi will be rezoned to commercial.
The second ordinance would add a conditional description to C-2 commercial properties, allowing small hotels to operate. Both ordinances are expected to read for a second time at the Aug. 27 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.
A public hearing will be conducted prior to the second and final reading of the two ordinances.
The ordinances follow a request made by Shawn McPherson, who owns property on the corner of Walnut Street and Church Street, to rezone his lot so that he can build the Battlefield Inn and Suites on his property.
McPherson's plan for a 20-room hotel met with resistance at multiple City Council and Planning Commission meetings. While some residents supported McPherson's plans, others said they were opposed to the location he has chosen for his proposed motel.
Gordon Church, the owner of the Covered Bridge Bed and Breakfast located on the opposite corner of Church and Walnut streets from the proposed motel, frequently voiced his opposition. Church's home and business, which had been listed for sale, is currently scheduled for auction later this month, according to the Covered Bridge Bed and Breakfast website.
The reason Church listed for retiring from the bed and breakfast business on the website is to "go fishing, visit with our children and grandchildren and go traveling."
The home and its contents will be auctioned separately. The auction website lists the business liquidation, household items, farm equipment, antiques and estate as items to be auctioned. The historical home features many of its original and antique furnishings.
In other matters, Mayor Jerry Mouser announced that Patrolman Shane Miller of the Philippi Police Department has returned to work following an on-duty vehicle accident in June of last year. Miller's was responding to a call when his police cruiser collided with another vehicle and was forced into the wall of the Philippi Volunteer Fire Department.
Mouser also announced that the Philippi Police Department's move to the Hu Myers Center has not happened. Although Mouser said he hoped the move would have happened sooner, he said the moving dates are scheduled for Aug. 29-30. He said he is planning a block party celebration for the community.
City Administrator Karen Weaver said during the work session that she was planning an open house for the new water plant. The speaker for the event and the date are yet to be announced.