CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Side business owner could have more options for his property, after the Municipal Planning Commission approved a zoning change for his business.Dustin O'Dell, of Charleston, approached the commission about the change at 500 Washington St. W. because he and his business associates, Justin Harrison and Scott McMillan, want to open a used car dealership and vehicular pawn shop. O'Dell owns the property, which has been a storage unit for Jiffy Jon portable toilets.O'Dell wanted the property rezoned from a Corridor Village District designation to C-10, which allows for general commercial use.Commissioner Adam Krason worried about the business becoming a full-fledged pawnshop or gun store if rezoned.The property's current designation as a villages district limits the ways it can be used. A C-10 district designation would allow more general commercial uses, including car rentals, medical or dental clinics and restaurants.Krason, a board member of West Side Main Street, said O'Dell asked for the organization's endorsement of the project, but it "took no position.""We chose not to endorse it because of the use and as it was described, just because it has that language of a pawn use in it," Krason said. "It would be great to see that building activated and utilized again. But at the same time you're opening it up to some potential problems in the future just because of the allowed uses."
O'Dell said he understands West Side Main Street's concern, but that he is planning to better explain his business plan to the board this month."I really believe that this business is going to be nothing but prosperous for the West Side," O'Dell told commissioners.The city's Planning Department recommended the commission pass the amendment, because the proposed rezoning is consistent with the Imagine Charleston comprehensive plan.Village district zoning on the West Side is mostly focused on properties that face onto the Washington Street corridor, said Planning Director Dan Vriendt. O'Dell's property is off the corridor and faces Railroad Avenue, surrounded by a C-10 district. Vriendt said the rezoning would be "merely an expansion" of that zone should City Council approve the zoning change.Krason and one other commissioner, former West Side councilman Rev. Braxton Broady, voted against the proposed change. It now goes to City Council's Planning Committee, which meets March 24.Reach Rachel Molenda at email@example.com