By Tia Lynn Ivey
Madison Mayor Fred Perriman was forced to cast a vote to break the tie between a split city council over a Bed and Breakfast text amendment.
Perriman voted in favor of passing a new text amendment that allow owner-occupied Bed and Breakfasts in residential neighborhoods to rent out up to six bedrooms to guests instead of four. However, qualifying Bed and Breakfasts would still need to apply for a conditional use with the city to rent any amount of bedrooms.
As of right now, the new text amendment only potentially affects the Kirby House, located in Madison’s Historic District, but council members worried that the upped bedroom allowances could open the door for larger houses in Madison’s Historic District to operate Bed and Breakfasts out of their homes in residential neighborhoods.
Steve Whitcomb spoke against the text amendment, asking the council to “to protect single family neighborhoods from undue commercial expansions.”
The text amendment was recommended for approval by the city’s planning and zoning commission, but received a fair amount of pushback from local residents.
Councilman Eric Joyce voiced opposition to the text amendment and voted against it.
“Originally, I thought it would be fine,’ said Joyce. “But as time has gone on, it bothers me the more I think about it. We are not in a commercial district and we are not in a transition district. This is in a neighborhood residential district.”
Councilwoman Chris Hodges also voted against the text amendment urging the council to review the entire ordinance pertaining to Bed and Breakfasts and suggesting the city consider how to handle the growing popularity of AirBnB as a preferred method of travel stay.