Lodging ordinance fails for lack of a motion

Emily Hunt addresses the Minden City Council.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

An ordinance that would have allowed lodging rentals anywhere in town failed to get off the ground, due to lack of a motion from any Minden City Council member during Monday’s meeting.

“So, we just stay with the original ordinance,” said City Building Official Brent Cooley. “Nothing changes. No bed and breakfasts are allowed within the city limits unless they apply for and receive a zoning variance.”

The change in the law would have allowed a homeowner to rent up to two bedrooms in their residence for short term. 

Pennsylvania Ave. resident Emily Hunt asked the council the process of approving a lodging house or bed and breakfast, if the ordinance passed.

“Will it go through the process of going through the planning commission and then the city council,” Hunt asked. “Or will it be a rubber stamp approval because it will be an acceptable home occupation?”

“If it passed as written, a bed and breakfast with no more than two bedrooms would be able to come through my office, just like any other occupational license,” Cooley said. “I would be able to approve it just like home offices or anything else. If it’s more than two bedrooms, they can’t get a home occupation license. It would have to start with the planning commission.”

Cooley clarified the two bedrooms would have to be rented individually, which was under the lodging house description.

The business would also have been able to erect a 2 by 3 sign (previously 3 by 3) in the yard, advertising their rooms.

Realtor and Tanglewood resident Catherine Hunt asked about location.

“If my neighbor decides he wants to rent two bedrooms, he can put a sign out in front of his house – anywhere in the city,” she asked Cooley.

“They would just come to me and get a home occupational license,” he responded, “for a lodging house up to two bedrooms rented individually

“But they have to live there,” Cooley added.

Joshua Hunt told the council that he studied 15 different ordinances in cities where bed and breakfast lodging was popular.

“None of the ones I could find was the home occupation adjusted, so I was going to tell you that I did find, for example, Natchitoches allows bed and breakfast exceptions for residential districts,” he said. “It’s an exception so it has to go through the planning commission and city council. They also have a separate bed and breakfast definition that’s not a lodging house. Again, they do not include a bed and breakfast in their occupational license.”

Hunt named other cities and towns that required zoning commission approval to open a lodging business.

Cooley said when drafting the ordinance, he did not call the same locations.

“A lot of those ordinances have been in effect for many, many years … long before those definitions were established,” Cooley said. “Bed and breakfast covers a whole gamut of different things.”

District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker said the ordinance was a concern for her.

“When would you have a bed and breakfast and not have it go before the planning commission or the council,” she asked. “Whether there’s one bedroom, two bedrooms, being able to have a bed and breakfast and it not go before the planning commission and the council is the main issue.”

Williams-Walker said she also had a problem with the home occupation listing.

When it was time for the council to vote on the ordinance, none of the council members made the motion, causing the item to fail.