ABCs of B&Bs

Your humble occupant was just a tad befuddled by the lack of action on an item presented during the last meeting of our city council, a meeting that showed befuddlement might be shared by the befuddlers.

An ordinance that would have, among other things, defined what constitutes a “bed and breakfast” was up for consideration and died on the table when not one council seat occupant would make a motion for approval. Hizzoner asked but, alas, silence. No movement. 

We’re befuddled because this council had asked for such an ordinance to be drafted, and allegedly discussed the draft during a meeting to review the upcoming agenda. Sources said the ordinance was requested after debates focusing on the “cans” and “cannots” at Grace Estate, formerly a B&B and event center. Seems the key issue to falling from Grace was noisy events.

Minden’s proposed new ordinance, drafted by housing official Brent Cooley, would allow a homeowner/B&B keeper to rent up to two rooms for a short term. Cooley would have been approved to grant an occupational license; neither the city planning commission nor the council would have been involved. Anything more than two would need an MPC/Council stamp of approval, and that speed bump often becomes a dead end.

Councilperson Williams-Walker said the death knell of the proposed ordinance is bypassing the council and planning commission for approval of any potential B&B, whether it’s one- or two-bedroom. Taking no action means no new B&Bs will be allowed inside the city limits unless owners apply for and receive a zoning variance. 

And that, fellow observers, is where befuddlement rears its confused head. Once this much-hyped HGTV special spotlights Minden for the rest of the country (perhaps as early as May), we’re told to expect a near-Disney World stampede of tourists. Business owners have already met to hear what we might expect. But, forgive a skeptic for wondering where this flood of tourists will lay weary heads and find comfort if we follow bureaucratic tradition.

Wonder what’s the time frame for applying for a zoning variance, presenting said request to MPC, awaiting MPC approval, presenting MPC recommendation to our no-motion city council and receiving blessing to proceed? Time’s a’wastin’ and time is money. 

If we find ourselves facing an influx with only one existing B&B in town (not counting the one just south on highway 371), there could be a challenge. At least we’re told there will be plenty of Port O’Potties available, even some double-deckers. And, there’s a new gazebo.

A couple of thoughts, lest we forget. Two of our notables continue their streak of “no” votes on approval of minutes from prior meetings. Also continued is the streak of no explanation for the thumbs down. While disappointing, there is something to be said for consistency.

Last but not least, it might be nice to see a person hoping to run the city in attendance at meetings of the folks who run the city. For this person, it could be informative. For possible constituents, it could be enlightening.