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B&Bs take another hit with council delay

Lorraine Olson has heard for years how city officials have touted bed-and-breakfast inns as one of the potential secrets to Port Orchard’s revitalization — luring guests in for the quaintness of a small oceanside community.

That’s one of the reasons Olson spent considerable time and money purchasing a historic home on Kitsap Street near Sidney Avenue.

She renovated it and set out to open her very own B&B.

But Olson’s application for a conditional-use permit in December has met with numerous frustrating delays, the latest coming on Monday, when the Port Orchard City Council again delayed a ruling because of parking issues.

It’s the second time in as many months the council has wrestled with bed and breakfast requests. Gil Michaels saw his effort to offer seven bedrooms instead of the five allowed by the city slapped down last November in what he says is uncompromising zoning that limits use of the city’s historic homes.

“I’m anxious to get my business up and running,” Olson told council members during a public hearing Monday night. “My guests will be downtown customers. They will spend more time there than at my bed and breakfast.”

Current city zoning requires a bed and breakfast to have at least one parking space for each room in the inn. But the location of Olson’s bed and breakfast is on a street where residents are limited in the number of spaces available.

Olson struck up a deal with a nearby church to use spaces in its parking lot at considerable cost, but city attorney Warren Combs pointed out that Olson failed to get an agreement that also ties the church to the conditional-use permit.

“There isn’t a single recorded document against a person providing the parking,” Michaels said during the hearing. “The biggest hurdle is always the parking.”

Michaels, who has fought his own battles over parking, said current zoning requirements hinder turning more of the city’s historic homes into bed and breakfasts.

“I’m just asking that the council consider amending or reviewing the process to consider parking on a case-by-case basis,” Olson said.

She said her guests, many of whom would be seniors, might even object to having to tote luggage from the church parking lot, about a block away.

But not all regular residents support Olson’s parking requests.

Jack Davis, who lives on Kitsap Street, said he already struggles to find a parking space outside his home, especially on Sundays, when churchgoers who can’t find a space in the church lot park in front of his home.

“I’m supportive of bed and breakfasts, but a lot of us who live here are single-family residents,” Davis said. “This shouldn’t hinder our ability to park on our street.”

Councilman John Clausen suggested granting the conditional-use permit to Olson with the stipulation that she obtain a revised contract with the church in the use of the lot.

The council instead voted to table the issue until the June 26 meeting, giving Olson some time to come back with a revised agreement.

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