Lacy Lakeview City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to grant special-use permits to two bed-and-breakfast businesses after previously denying one to the “Barndominium” owner.
One request comes from Dana and Ruby Strickland, co-owners of Bed and Breakfast on White Rock Creek at 267 Ruby Dell Lane.
The location has operated for 16 years in the city without a permit, and all existing properties within 200 feet are residential. The owners were only recently asked to apply for a permit because of the latest commotion caused by Kristi Bass wanting to convert the Barndominium, which was featured on the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” when Chip and Joanna Gaines remodeled the barn. Bass’ application was rejected and strongly opposed by surrounding neighbors.
The council was originally scheduled to discuss the new permit at its December meeting, but discussions had to be delayed because of errors in posting the agenda.
Dana Strickland has said his business existed before most of the surrounding neighbors moved to the area, and they purchased property knowing a business operated at the location.
There could be seven to 10 cars per day on the property with 100 percent occupancy on any given day, but the total rarely exceeds 14, the Stricklands wrote in their application to the city.
“It’s been a real joy to have the city council in the house a time or two as well,” he said.
Vehicles park within the property lines and not on the street, the application states.
“There is no need of any screening,” the application continues. “You could count natural trees and shrubs as screening. This has been satisfactory for our neighbors who are next to our property. There has been no complaints.”
Strickland said he thinks his neighbors have enjoyed having a bed and breakfast on the street as guests often walk the neighborhood.
“People are surprised to find out we’ve had guests not only from Texas, but literally all over the world,” he said. “Texas has a mystique, and they want to come and visit Texas.”
Bed-and-breakfast guests not only come to stay in Lacy Lakeview and visit the Gainses’ Magnolia Silos in Waco during the day, but often visit Homestead Heritage, he said. The business is full most weekends, and weekday traffic varies depending on the season, he said.
“I think it’s helped that that show (“Fixer Upper”) attracts a more mature audience that are usually homeowners and that are really a respectful kind of guest, a more mature guest, shoppers wanting to come and basically visit Waco,” Strickland said.
Resident Greg Williams told the council at the last meeting he lives on the same street as the Bed and Breakfast on White Rock Creek and happens to live in one of the few houses guests must pass to get there.
There’s one entrance to Ruby Dell Lane, which is off Gholson Road, and he hasn’t had a problem with traffic or guests, he said.
The second request for a special use permit is for 142 Ruby Dell Lane.
City Manager Keith Bond said the owners of that location want to rent a few rooms in their home on weekends.
Bass, meanwhile, has pointed out to city leaders that the Stricklands’ business, like the Barndominium, operates in a residential area.
She asked how that operation, which has seven rooms, doesn’t violate any city ordinance.
City leaders have told Bass she can no longer operate the Barndominium as a vacation rental. She has since received two citations for operating 123 Spring Creek Road as a business without a permit — the first in September and another in November.
One of the citations was prompted by a complaint from Councilman Steven Moore, who lives on the same street as the vacation rental.
The second citation came after the council Oct. 18 adopted a new ordinance for vacation rentals, which was prompted by Bass’ original application. The new ordinance was passed the same day the council denied Bass’ first request for a permit.
During a pretrial hearing Nov. 30 for the first citation, the municipal court judge set a tentative date of April 26 for a jury trial.
Municipal Court Clerk Christine McMains said pretrial motions will occur before a final trial date is set. She said nothing has moved on the second citation and likely won’t until the first is handled.
The citations are Class C misdemeanors and can include a fine between $1 and $2,000, plus court costs, Lacy Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt said in early November.
Bass has worked since August to get a permit for the Barndominium.
Shortly after purchasing the property Bass, began announcing the location as a vacation rental.
Bass has — and continues to, as of Friday — promoted the site as a vacation rental on the booking website VRBO. The calendar on the site, last updated Jan. 2, lists bookings through May 2017 at $1,200 per night, with a two-night minimum stay, sleeping up to 20 people.
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