Council approves rezoning for Theatre West Virginia

Scott Hill, the general manager for Theatre West Virginia, looks around the former Learning Tree building on S. Kanawha St. in Beckley on Monday. Local attorney Steve New is looking into purchasing the building to install 10 efficiency apartments as well as an office space of TWV, Hill said. New, according to Hill, plans to rent the 10 apartments out to TWV crew during the Summer and then for WVU Tech students drug the rest of the year. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

Beckley Common Council unanimously approved a zoning ordinance Tuesday which will allow Theatre West Virginia to establish boarding rooms for out-of-town actors at a North Kanawha Street property. 

The ordinance rezones nine parcels of land on the east side of North Kanawha Street, between Quesenberry and Elkins streets, from an Occupational/Residential transitional district to a Residential 2 residential district.

The R-2 designation will allow developer and local attorney Steve New to establish boarding rooms at the former Learning Tree day care property on North Kanawha. New purchased the building in 2018 for $90,000.

The building will also host artistic and administrative offices for TWV, along with a practice area and educational space for actors and a general manager's office. 

"This will be used for the benefit of Theatre West Virginia, and they will be able to house actors during the season," explained city attorney Bill File during the second reading of the ordinance. "(WVU) Tech students may be able to reside there as well, as it's within walking distance of the campus."

The city's planning commission had also recommended adoption of the ordinance. 

"I think this is bringing (TWV) closer to the City of Beckley so we can let it evolve," Councilman-at-Large Tim Berry said. "I think this is another positive step."

After the council meeting, New said he was happy with council's decision.

"This is a golden opportunity for Theatre West Virginia and I'm happy to help." 

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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