NORFOLK, Neb. -- Talks over a downtown project in Norfolk continued despite being placed on hold.

A project proposal for 105 E Norfolk Ave. had been the focus for many during Norfolk's City Council meetings, as the project made steps toward approval.

However, the project was suddenly placed on hold by developers Mark Otto and MUD LLC who announced their decision in a letter to the Norfolk Daily News.

The developers said they were pausing their project for the time being, due to what they claimed was "unnecessary hostility" towards the project. 

While the project is no longer on the table, the Greater Norfolk Economic Development Foundation was moving forward with a zoning change for the property to become a C-2 central commercial district.

The foundation said their decision to move forward with the zoning change was to make the property more attractive for potential investors.

"You know to be honest the last couple of days have been pretty disappointing," Steve Sunderman Chairman of the GNEDF said. "The foundation would still like to see a zoning match the zoning for the rest of downtown along Norfolk Avenue and make the property more marketable."

On Monday, some residents echoed the foundation's goal to have the zone changed, with so hope Otto and MUD LLC may revisit the project in the future.

However, others criticized the developers for the language used in their letter to the Daily.

Norfolk resident Kim Davis expressed anger at being labeled as "toxic" and "hostile" for voicing her opinions on the project during city council meetings.

"I was very very upset that I was referred to as toxic because I had the audacity to ask questions about this project," Norfolk resident Kim Davis said. "We don't want to be seen as not being open to new development, that's not the problem at all. I think we should be able to ask questions without being labeled."

Another concern was that a zoning change would create parking and traffic issues as a C-2 zone doesn't have parking requirements.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the zoning change, with council member Justin Webb voting in opposition, and councilman Justin Snorton not voting due to being absent.