Thursday afternoon, the Nevada City Planning Commission held a public hearing to review an application to reopen the Kendall House bed-and-breakfast at 534 Spring St,, recommencing use under a permit issued in 1991.
The hearing went on for approximately three hours. More than 20 people were in attendance, and there were 15 speakers during the public comment period. Most of them opposed the Kendall House’s bid to reopen.
Many of those comments revolved around the desire of nearby residents to avoid having a hospitality business operating in their neighborhood, despite the city attorney’s attempt to frame the debate solely around the question of whether or not the previous owner had intended to discontinue the property’s use as a bed-and-breakfast.
The most recent owner, Jeff Corbett, was in attendance. Corbett stated unequivocally that he had not intended to discontinue the property’s use as a bed-and-breakfast.
To the contrary, he maintained a business license through the duration of his ownership, he said. He also paid commercial water rates for at least some portion of those years.
Proponents of reopening Kendall House argued that the city had taken payment, both for the business license and for the water bills, and that the city’s acceptance of those payments validated Corbett’s claim that he had not discontinued the property’s use as a bed-and-breakfast.
They also argued that a revived bed-and-breakfast would generate tax revenue for the city.
The current owners, Mollie Poe and Decklan Hickey, say they purchased the former Kendall House as an income-generating property.
They currently reside in San Francisco and say they will continue to use the property as a second home if their request to reopen Kendall House is denied.
Neighbors say that the property has not been used as a bed and breakfast since 2002 and that the home was used as a private residence for a significant portion of the following decade.
Corbett reportedly rented out rooms to boarders for lengths of time exceeding 30 days.
Many argued that after one year of residential use, the original permit was negated. It was also argued that the Kendall House’s use permit was negated when Corbett started renting out rooms on a long-term basis.
In the end, the commission continued the matter until next month’s meeting, directing staff to come back with findings determining the legal validity of arguments on both sides.
“We want more information,” said commissioner Pamela Meeks.
Poe and Hickey declined to comment further pending the outcome of next month’s meeting.
The Union also spoke with several local innkeepers, most of whom were in favor of allowing Kendall House to reopen.
However, some expressed concerns that Nevada City’s regulations on bed-and- breakfasts may not be getting enforced in a fair and uniform fashion.
To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.