Nevada City planners fret over B&B revival plan
Nevada City Planning Commissioners were wringing their hands Thursday night over an ordinance that could help a defunct bed-and-breakfast come back into business.
The ordinance would allow former B&Bs that let their use permits lapse to return to operation – something a previous city attorney had ruled out as a violation of a 1994 vote.
City councilmembers asked commissioners to draft the measure with a specific house in mind – Broad Street’s Aaron Sargent house, a vacant white-columned Victorian formerly known as Grandmere’s Inn.
But commissioners responded to public outcry labeling the process as too specific and favoring one property.
“We could do it legally,” said commissioner Bob Wright. “But it doesn’t feel right morally.”
Commissioners had not voted on a recommendation for the council by press time, but considered sending the ordinance back to the council with a list of reservations they had about it.
Andy and Susan Howard, owners of the Emma Nevada House, have expressed interest in reopening the Sargent House as an upscale B&B.
Once a thriving B&B with frequent weddings and special events, the Sargent House became a private residence in 2004 and went into foreclosure about a year ago. It has stood empty and overgrown since then, and residents have pointed to the property as a potential public nuisance.
Commissioners affirmed the idea of a revived Sargent House, but debated whether moving forward with an ordinance was against the will of voters.
“We’re comfortable with the plan,” said commissioner Evans Phelps. “We’re uncomfortable with the perception of the procedure.”
To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4247.
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