It was back in September that the Riverside village board amended the zoning code to effectively allow bed-and-breakfast establishments within the village. But it wasn’t until last week that the board decided on the procedure for allowing where those businesses can be located.
At the board’s Nov. 7 meeting, trustees unanimously agreed that bed and breakfasts can be located in any of the village’s zoning areas — but they are only permitted by right in commercial districts.
In all of the village’s residential districts, anyone seeking to open a bed and breakfast must obtain a special-use permit. That can be a time-consuming and costly process, which requires a public hearing in front of the Plan Commission and getting the approval of the village board.
Initially, the Plan Commission recommended allowing B&Bs anywhere in the village by right. However, Trustee Doug Pollock expressed concerns about that provision and asked that the law be sent back to the Plan Commission for more discussion. In the end, the commission maintained the use by right in commercial districts but required the special-use process for residential districts.
While he said he wasn’t concerned about allowing B&Bs in residential areas by right, Village President Ben Sells said he was OK with the compromise.
“I personally didn’t think that was needed because the broader ordinance has protections that neighborhoods needed,” said Sells. “At the Plan Commission the discussion was location. I think that should be determined by the marketplace. The market will determine if it’s a viable spot.”
The ordinance states that no B&B can have more than five rooms and the rooms must not contain any cooking facilities. Guests are not permitted to stay overnight for more than 15 consecutive days and an owner/operator must live onsite at all times that guests are present.
In addition, no alcohol can be sold or provided by the B&B and owners must get food-service certification. Businesses must carry liability insurance of not less than $1 million and they must install an integrated fire alarm system for the building. They also must maintain guest records for three years. There are rules related to signage, lighting, doors and a host of other regulations.
“There are houses all over town that might work,” Sells said. “I hope it happens.”