Historic mystery clouds B&B decision

The unanimous decision of the Grand Junction Planning Commission to approve a bed and breakfast within the Seventh Street Historic District is hardly astonishing. Given the development rules under which the commission presumed to be operating, the planning group had no reason to deny the proposal from Ron and Sherri DeRose.

But the rules under which the city is operating ignore a 25-year-old plan for the historic area that residents believed was in place. And therein lies both the mystery and the problem surrounding this case.

We have never believed, as many residents of Seventh Street clearly do, that allowing a bed and breakfast to operate in the neighborhood will somehow destroy the historic character of the area. After all, as an attorney for the DeRoses noted, there are already several properties in the district that aren’t strictly single-family homes. There’s a day-care business and several houses with apartment units.

But we certainly understand the frustration of residents of Seventh Street regarding the 1984 plan. For a quarter century, they have believed that plan was the guiding document for development decisions made within the historic district. They can even point to previous development applications that were considered under the framework of the 1984 plan.

Now they are told by city officials there is no evidence the 1984 plan was ever formally adopted by the City Council 25 years ago. And, in fairness to current city officials, that’s no off-the-cuff remark. City Attorney John Shaver conducted a lengthy search in an attempt to determine what was officially done with the 1984 plan. His conclusion: He could find nothing that shows it was ever adopted by the 1980s-era City Council.

Even if it had been, that might not have changed the eventual outcome on the bed and breakfast.

But residents of the Seventh Street Historic District have a reasonable expectation that land-use rules for their neighborhood will remain historically consistent.

The City Council should consider formally adopting an updated version of the 1984 plan.


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