The historic 1902 Henry Knight House on Main Street

Roanoke moved one step closer Monday to having a new bed-and-breakfast and private event center on Main Street.

Roanoke City Council at Monday's city council meeting approved a rezoning request from Tom Waldrep, who owns the house at 809 Main St., north of downtown.

The house is familiar to locals as the large Tudor-style home that has been empty for over a decade. It was built by prominent Roanoke businessman Henry Knight, who helped found Handley Mills at the turn of the 20th century and was instrumental in the construction of the city's mill village and the elementary school that bears his name (Knight-Enloe).

Waldrep purchased the house in December 2016 with an eye on renovating it and held an open house in April 2018 to let the public see the house before work began.

Little work has been done to the property since then, but the council's vote Monday clears the way for Waldrep's intended use for the property.

The decision to rezone the property from residential to business use was a cause for concern for neighbor Ken Weaver, who voiced those concerns at Monday's council meeting.

Weaver had questions about the use of the property as an event center and stated that large gatherings at the property could be disruptive to the quiet north Main neighborhood.

The council took those concerns into consideration, but ultimately determined that the potential benefit of having Waldrep's proposed business in Roanoke would outweigh the potential negatives.

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