Philippi City Council unanimously denied a controversial request Tuesday to rezone a property on Walnut Street in Philippi from residential to commercial, possibly blocking the plans to bring a new hotel to town.
The request made by Shawn McPherson to rezone the lot met with controversy at earlier meetings. McPherson has plans to build Battlefield Inn & Suites, a new hotel, on the lot that is currently residential.
Some citizens, including Gordon Church, the owner of the Covered Bridge Bed and Breakfast, were not in favor of the rezoning. Church has said there are better suited locations for McPherson's plans, and the lot he chose for his project is too small for its proposed purpose. Church's business is in close proximity to the lot where McPherson wishes to build the hotel.
McPherson's inn would bring 20 new hotel rooms to Philippi, which other citizens say is needed with the growth of Alderson-Broaddus College.
Councilman Jeff Allen made the motion to deny the request, asking that the matter be brought before the Planning Commission once more to consider rezoning to C2 instead of C3.
A C2 rezoning would still allow McPherson to move forward with his plan, but would give more control to the city.
With a C3 lot, any business could utilize the lot which is part of the historic district of Philippi.
A C2 lot allows the city to maintain control of height regulations for structures on the lot. A C3 lot would require access to a main highway, where a C2 lot would not.
Allen said that the C2 zone would not change any of McPherson's plans if it later becomes approved.