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WEST JEFFERSON — The West Jefferson Planning Board met Tuesday, Nov. 5, at West Jefferson Town Hall, discussing the Old Hotel and the newly-annexed Saloon Studios.

First on the agenda was a consideration of zoning for Saloon Studios, which had only been annexed by the town the day before. Co-owner Laura Jones was at the meeting to answer any questions the board may have had.

When the property was annexed, it was designated as highway commercial, which does not cover all of the things that happen at Saloon Studios. For example, highway commercial does not cover filming locations or festivals, both of which feature at Saloon Studios. The board opted to recommend the addition of festivals, concerts, filming location and event venue to the highway commercial designation. The added wording would allow for Saloon Studios to continue doing what it has done in the past, as well as make it easier for similar locations in the future.

Next was a request from Mark Beck, owner of the Old Hotel. Under the town’s zoning ordinances, hotels and motels cannot be in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Beck indicated to the town that he wishes to remodel the hotel building back into a functioning hotel, and asked for either leeway or a zoning ordinance change. Beck’s request was granted, with the board unanimously approving the addition of “boutique hotel” to the community shopping type of zoning. Part of it was defining a “boutique hotel,” which was defined as “a small, stylish hotel with less than 30 rooms.”

There will be a public hearing Monday, Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at West Jefferson Town Hall, where the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen will hear the public opinion of the proposed changes.

The planning board does not make any changes themselves, only making recommendations to the Board of Aldermen, who then decide if any ordinances will change. The next West Jefferson Board of Aldermen meeting will be Monday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.

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