Nevada City Planning Commission shoots down B&B ordinance
After holding a public hearing Thursday afternoon to gather community input on the city’s bed-and-breakfast facility policy, the Nevada City Planning Commission unanimously voted down the city’s current B&B ordinance, which prevents and prohibits new B&B facilities from being established in residential zones in the city.
The city council, which approved the ordinance in January, will have the final say on the ordinance, however.
“I don’t agree that B&Bs should be specifically prohibited in residential zones,” Vice Chair Commissioner Brad Croul said. “I think they can work in some places with little effect to the neighborhoods. I just feel we should leave ourselves open to the possibility that there could be a B&B here or there… I don’t believe B&Bs would destabilize neighbors, or significantly affect the environment.”
Commissioners Dan Thiem and Bernice Gonzalez were not present at Thursday’s meeting, leaving the commission to sit with just three members.
“We won’t really know how to move forward until residents vote on this,” Commissioner Pamela Meek said. “I think we can have all different people speaking, but I think until everybody’s voice is heard, it’s unfair for us to be saddled with the responsibility with making that decision.”
Separate from an Airbnb policy, which was discussed at a March 4 city council meeting, B&B rentals have been an ongoing topic of discussion in Nevada City over the years.
In November 1994, voters approved Measure F, which removed city policy that regulated short-term rentals of more than one week and less than 30 days in the area.
Exceptions have been made over the years, including in October 2014, when a former B&B facility known as Kendall House was granted a permit to reopen for business.
The city has since dealt with an impending lawsuit in reference to B&Bs in neighborhoods from a local group called Friends of Spring Street, while also going through further settlement talks with a group known as Friends of Nevada City.
In January, council members unanimously approved a temporary ordinance that prevents and prohibits new B&B facilities from being established in residential zones in the city, labeling them as non-conforming.
According to the ordinance, non-conforming B&Bs would be reviewed in a due process hearing with the city to decide whether permits would be revoked.
That ordinance, which was initially approved to last 45 days, was extended by city council members through the end of this year, and will be revisited by council members along with the planning commission’s recommendations.
Planning commissioners asked city staff to summarize their views and recommendations to include in their report to the city council.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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