An architect who was denied a zoning variance that would have allowed the conversion of Walhalla’s Keowee Courier building into apartment homes for seniors elicited an apology last night from the mayor pro-tem. Although consoling, Councilman Tjay Bagwell’s apology fell short of what Lori Sons had wanted. Bagwell and his city council colleagues said they were powerless to overturn votes of the city’s board of zoning appeals. Although appointed by the mayor and council, the board acts as a quasi-judicial panel when it comes to exceptions to the zoning rules. Its decisions may be appealed only to the circuit court. Sons said, for her, an appeal to the courts would be too expensive.