County commission turns down bed-and-breakfast
They also questioned why applicant Marie C.S. Soucie didn’t check with the county before she spent $1 million renovating the property she bought for $499,000 only to discover she would need a special use permit for a bed-and-breakfast.
“I wish you’d got permission before you built a bed-and-breakfast,” said Commissioner Lee Bonner.
“There are property rights, but there are also the rights of the people who live next to you.”
Greg Lynn voted to allow the bed-and-breakfast.
“The expectation you will buy in a neighborhood, and it will stay in stasis you’re entire life is not realistic,” Lynn said. “Compatibility is a subjective judgment, and I can’t see this as an incompatibility issue.”
Soucie appeared in October before the Douglas County planning commission requesting a special use permit for a three-bedroom lodging with special events during the year.
When she appeared Thursday to ask commissioners to overturn the planning commission, she had dropped the special events segment.
Rob Anderson, representing Soucie, told the board the facility would be “a very high caliber operation.”
That was not enough for the neighbors.
“In order to do what she wants, she has to take from others,” said Scott Wahab.
He decried what he said were Soucie’s “big city tactics.”
“This will lower property values,” he said.
Larry Reece said it was difficult not to get emotional about the proposed project, adding that he didn’t think it was right that “money and influence should trump everything else.”
“We’ve been told it’s probably up to us (the neighbors) to enforce the compliance. Please, we ask you to look at this sincerely. Would you want a bed-and-breakfast next door to you?” she asked the board.
Tammy Adamson, whose husband was the contractor for Soucie’s renovation, said she “had made the property truly a delight.”
“Her intent is to provide a private luxury setting,” Adamson said. “It was never her intent to disrupt her neighbors.”
Soucie’s Realtor, Jan Burgman of RE/MAX Realty, said her client bought the property after it had been on the market for three years.
“It was really in poor condition. She did a lot of renovation and spent a considerable amount of money,” Burgman said.
She added that Soucie’s investment enhanced the Buckthorn Court property values.
Friend Sue McIntosh said she had known Soucie for 18 years.
“She is a quality individual — warm, a lot of integrity and very community minded. You in Douglas County are lucky she lives here,” McIntosh said.
Commissioner Doug Johnson said he didn’t believe the project was compatible with the neighborhood, even without the special events.
“I get upset when a project goes to the planning commission and comes to us completely different,” Johnson said.