BECKLEY, W.Va. — A West Virginia contractor who was denied permission to build student housing now says he’s going to turn the lot into a retreat for the homeless.

Raleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission member and contractor Kevin Reedy told The Register-Herald on Wednesday that he’s got a permit to move a doublewide trailer on to the Beckley lot, which he’ll furnish with utilities and open up for the city’s homeless population.

He originally intended to build a duplex for student housing, pointing out WVU-Tech’s student housing shortage, but the Beckley Common Council voted down his request for rezoning last month, a decision that he says left him “stunned.”

Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold says that there are no homeless people in the city, and fears the shelter could “attract the wrong element.”

Information from: The Register-Herald,