Monday, 11 March 2019 15:12

Rockingham holding public hearing to allow bed and breakfast inns in Historic District

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ROCKINGHAM — Residents will get a chance to have their say regarding bed and breakfasts operating in the Historic District during a public hearing Tuesday.

City Planner John Massey told the Rockingham City Council last month that he had been approached by someone who was interested in purchasing a home in the Historic District with the intent to open a bed and breakfast but is unable to do so because of current zoning regulations.

According to the staff report included the February agenda packet, city staffers believe a bed and breakfast inn “can be an appropriate and complementary land use … with the right standards and conditions” and “...can complement the city’s downtown revitalization efforts since the (historic district) is … adjacent to and within walking distance of downtown.”

There are currently 18 properties in the district that meet the requirements if the amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance is approved, according to the report. If the minimum lot area was changed from 0.75 acres to 0.5 acres, 31 residences would qualify.

The proposed amendment changes the definition for “bed and breakfast inn” to make it closer to the state’s definition and clarifies that food and drink cannot be served to non-guests, preventing it from being used as a restaurant or bar.

The amendment also limits the number of guest rooms to eight and prohibits exterior renovations to add bedrooms.

A similar proposal was shot down in 1994 after “considerable opposition” from residents in the Historic District.

The City Council will meet at City Hall at 6:30 p.m.