BAYVILLE - About 400 people packed a middle school auditorium to protest a zoning change proposal in Bayville.

Currently, there are some apartments above businesses in the business district of the village. The zoning change would allow for more residential units on the ground level.

Bayville Mayor Paul Rupp tried to calm the crowd, saying any new residential properties would be limited to four apartment units each. He said the properties would have to be separated by 250 feet.

Village officials say allowing apartments in the business district will help rejuvenate the downtown area. They say 40 percent of the downtown area has vacant commercial space.

Still, residents were not pleased with the plan. Former Bayville Mayor Doug Watson says the solution to the blight is attracting more businesses, not residents.