Putnam County Commission rejects rezoning proposal

At the Putnam County commission meeting Tuesday, the board voted against a rezoning proposal...
At the Putnam County commission meeting Tuesday, the board voted against a rezoning proposal for the third time.(WSAZ)
Published: May. 12, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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A lot on Mt. Vernon Road in Teays Valley has sat empty for a while now. And after Tuesday's county commission meeting, it seems it may be like that for a little while longer.

The owner of the lot was hoping to be able to rezone it from residential to commercial. But after hearing the public's input at the Putnam County commission meeting on the topic, Commissioner Andy Skidmore and Commission President Steve Andes voted against it. That made it the third time the proposal has been denied. Commissioner Ron Foster, who is also on the planning commission, voted in favor of the rezoning.

"The property really is not suitable for a single family home. The vote today just basically said that property is going to remain without development, and that’s sad," Foster said.

But people who live near the road like Linda Tennant are anything but sad about the news.

"There (would've been) traffic, I was concerned with children's safety because we have a school bus stop, and just the noise in general. That’s what our major concerns were," Tennant said.

The Mt. Vernon Road lots were one of two properties up for rezoning. The other property, which sits on Arthur Lane behind the Halfway Market, did get approved to be rezoned from a residential property to commercial.

Another controversial topic on the agenda was to eliminate public input on specific rezoning proposals and any board of zoning appeals which acts as a mediator for the public and planning commission.

"When you go to a permitted principal use, that means it can be handled all internally in planning and when it’s handled in planning you still have to follow the guidelines which were the questions I asked," Foster told WSAZ. "It just doesn’t have to go to the public hearings and go through the Board of Zone appeals."

The proposal was voted against 2-1, with Foster being the one vote for it. He said the reason he wanted it was to help simplify and speed up the process for someone wanting to get special permits for businesses, especially during the time of a pandemic.

"It would’ve made the process go much faster for someone to get a permit in Putnam County," Foster said.

"The big point for me is, I want people to have jobs and we don’t know the full extent of the damage that this has done, this shutdown. But I think it’s going to be far greater then what the other commissioners realize."

But Linda Tennant said, all the ordinance change would've done was eliminate herself and her neighbors from having a say in what goes on in the county.

"The big thing on the amendment is that was going to affect all of us. That was going to take our voice out of anything they were going to put in there, that’s what our concern was," Tennant said.

The next board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. May 28, 2020.