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Snyderville Planning Commission Recommends Change to Bed and Breakfast Regulations

The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted for a change to planning code to clarify the definition of a bed and breakfast inn, following a lot of discussion and controversy about that commercial use over the past couple of years. 


The Snyderville Commission’s vote was a recommendation to send the code change on to the Summit County Council.


The code requires that a bed and breakfast inn be an “owner-occupied business.” Snyderville Chairman Thomas Cooke said the county feels it’s important that the owner be a part of the neighborhood where the inn operates.


“There’s a belief that if the owner lives there on-site, there’s a pride-of-ownership component, because it’s also your home, you’re going to maintain a certain standard of being a good neighbor even though you’re potentially operating a business,” he said. “That’s what we’re shooting for. It’s all about minimizing the impacts of, essentially, an in-home business in a neighborhood.”


The topic gained public attention the past two years with a proposal for a bed and breakfast on the historic Colby School property along State Route 224, across from St. Mary's Catholic Church. The Colby School owner, a company called Hoffvest, has for years sought to develop commercial services in the two-story building and surrounding area, despite intense neighbor opposition. The Snyderville Commission and County Council last year denied a Conditional Use Permit to the project. But earlier this year, a Third District Court judge overturned the county’s denial, saying the county had not defined an “owner-occupied residence.” 


Cooke told KPCW the commission approved the code amendment Tuesday to clarify who an owner is.


“It has to be a person, a natural person, not the loose definition of person that can be a corporation or an LLC,” Cooke said. “They have to live in the residence as their primary residence and also be the operator. That’s essentially it in a nutshell. We’re not talking about owning an inn and then hiring somebody to be your innkeeper and saying that, well, they live there, so they’re the owner-operator. It just further tightens up those criteria and takes out the ambiguity.”


During the meeting, County Development Director Pat Putt said the code change isn’t intended to hinder any future applications for bed and breakfast businesses.


“I think it’s less about discouraging a specific land use. Rather it’s more about mitigating, somehow solving the problems that these specific uses may create. I think it’s important to make sure that’s on the record. This isn’t meant to be punitive. This is meant to be clear for both the public side, the staff and the Planning Commission side and the applicant’s side.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.