A motion to rezone the former Woodsfield Elementary School property as the site for a Days Inn failed to receive approval Monday from Woodsfield Village Council, which instead agreed to rezone the former Woodsfield High School site for future development and an office complex.
About 67 residents signed a petition opposing the rezoning of the elementary school site, and about 45 attended Monday's meeting with Jerry Jackson, a North Paul Street resident, as spokesman.
It had been proposed that the former elementary school property be rezoned from "A" residential to "C" for a business. The proposal was tabled at a previous meeting.
Jackson said a motel would result in extra traffic on North Paul Street and would affect the charm of the residential properties and the property values.
Gary Rubel, co-owner of the JERU firm, said he favored the rezoning and had been instrumental in bringing Pamida, Dollar General and KFC to the village. Rubel also said he owns several other properties and gives free water to the village from one of his lakes.
Councilwoman Carol Hehr spoke against rezoning, noting her opposition has nothing to do with the owners. She said she thinks there are better sites for such a business.
Noting she has been on council for several years, Hehr added that if one person is opposed to such a rezoning proposal for a commercial purpose, she would not vote for rezoning.
Speaking in favor of rezoning the former school property, Councilman Dale English said he thought it would be of financial benefit to the village and a boost to the local economy. English also said he had talked to lots of people with many in favor of rezoning and only a few opposed.
Mayor L. William Bolon spoke in favor of the change, indicating it would be a boost for the village and a move forward. Also speaking in favor of rezoning was Council President Pro Tem Mike Cox, who said there are motels in residential areas in other municipalities.
Three council members voted against the proposal, and two in favor with one member recused from voting. Opposed were Matt Vincavich, Pauline Delbrugge and Hehr, while Cox and English were in favor. Councilman Bill Moore abstained because he is employed by a small motel on South Paul Street.
T.J. Jeffers, who owns the KFC recently constructed in Woodsfield and who was a potential owner of the former elementary school property, thanked council for its consideration.
Addressing council, Jackson said, "Thank you for keeping our lives the same."
Also tabled at the previous meeting was the proposed rezoning from A to C for a business regarding the former Woodsfield High School at the intersection of High and Paul streets.
No one spoke on this proposal, and council voted 5-1 in favor of rezoning the former high school property from A to C for future development and an office complex. Dissenting was Vincavich.