Bed and breakfast opponents end fight

The creation of a much-debated bed and breakfast in the Seventh Street Historic Residential District now appears imminent after opponents declined to take their battle to court.

A group of historic district residents who spent months organizing against the opening of the three-bedroom inn at 604 N. Seventh St. decided not to go to court to block a permit awarded by the city to would-be owners and operators Ron and Sherri DeRose.

“My clients basically felt it would be a waste of their time and resources,” attorney Jodie Behrmann said.

The group has insisted the four-block stretch of Seventh Street between Grand and Hill avenues — which earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places 25 years ago — should consist strictly of single-family homes. Other land uses exist within the historic district, but the city grandfathered in those uses.

Bed and breakfast opponents have cited a 1984 plan that required the City Council to sign off on any land-use changes within the historic district. City officials have contended there is no evidence the plan ever was formally adopted and that, even if it had been, the DeRoses’ inn constitutes a minor change that doesn’t require a public hearing.

The City Council has been working for the past few months on formulating a zoning overlay for the historic district. The most recent version council members considered during a public hearing would require them to review planning staff decisions on all applications for home-based businesses and day cares, accessory units, sub-units and small bed and breakfasts such as the DeRoses’. More significant changes would go directly to the council.

But the council has twice postponed adopting the zoning overlay, which Behrmann pointed to as part of the reason why her clients chose to pursue legal action against the city.

She said if Seventh Street residents sued and won, preventing one bed and breakfast from opening, council members could still approve a zoning overlay that would permit other bed and breakfasts to open in the historic district.

“We ended up, because of the timing issues, in a classic catch-22,” Behrmann said.

The DeRoses, meanwhile, are busy preparing to open their home to visitors sometime next year.

Sherri DeRose said she attended the Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado’s annual conference in Golden last month, visiting with innkeepers and learning the ins and outs of opening and operating a bed and breakfast. She said she and her husband will spend the winter developing a business plan, creating a Web site and making some minor modifications to the interior of their home. Once the snow melts, the DeRoses will plant a business sign in their yard and expand the parking in their driveway, as required by their permit.

“We’re not rushing this,” Sherri DeRose said. “We want to do it right.”

She said she feels bad about the acrimony that permeated the application process.

“It hurts to know there is this dissension in the neighborhood right now,” she said. “I don’t know how long it takes to sort that out.”


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