Melissa Ellis El, owner of a vintage 1910 building at 914 Colonial Ave., wants to convert the three-story home into a bed and breakfast establishment.
Her application for a special exception was to be heard by the Norfolk Planning Commission on May 26 but was postponed until June. El said she wants to present her plans to the Ghent Neighborhood League at the league’s June 20 meeting.
Applications for special exception uses are heard by the Norfolk Planning Commission and forwarded, with recommendations, to the Norfolk City Council.
According to city real estate records, the three-story building — assessed in July 2004 for $232,800 — was sold in 2003 for $300,500. Since then, it has been renovated and offered for sale as a single-family residence, with a last known asking price of $750,000.
The brick building with a columned porch lies in the Ghent historic district in which bed and breakfast establishments are permitted, provided they meet the following criteria:
According to the Norfolk Zoning Ordinance for Ghent’s historic districts
(1) The bed and breakfast shall be operated in a primary single-family residential structure and not in any accessory structure.
(2) No exterior additions or alterations shall be made for the express purpose of creating or maintaining a bed and breakfast, other than those necessary for health, safety or sanitation requirements. Any exterior additions or alterations must be reviewed by the design review committee and approved by the city planning commission as being in character with the original structure and the surrounding area.
(3) The owner shall be a full-time, bona fide resident of the home in which the bed and breakfast is located; if, however, other than a natural person such as a corporation, trustee, etc., shall be the legal owner, a full-time manager may reside in the premises in the same manner as a natural person owner.
(4) The structure must contain at least two full bathrooms for the exclusive use of the owner or resident manager and other members of the immediate household, plus one private bathroom for each guest bedroom. Each full, discrete bathroom must include a minimum of a water closet, a lavatory and a bath or shower and meet current building code requirements.
(5) No monthly guests are permitted. Maximum length of stay is limited to 14 days in any 30-day period of time. The holder of the special exception shall keep a current guest register, including names, addresses and dates of occupancy of all guests. These records shall be available for inspection by the zoning administrator.
(6) The number of guest rooms shall be established in the special exception and shall not exceed seven.
(7) No bed and breakfast shall be authorized in any structure built on or after June 19, 1990.
(8) No bed and breakfast shall be established within 1,000 feet of another bed and breakfast; provided, however, that the city council may, for good cause shown, waive this requirement.
(9) For bed and breakfast establishments, one off-street parking space for the owner/manager and one space per guest room shall be required. The front yard shall not be used for parking. Parking must be screened in a manner acceptable to the planning commission.
(10) For bed and breakfast establishments, no signs are allowed except for a nameplate, not to exceed one square foot in size, consisting of the name of the establishment, the date of its original construction and a designation as a bed and breakfast. The nameplate shall be non-illuminated and shall be attached either to the structure or to a fence surrounding the property. The nameplate shall be compatible with the style and detailing of the house.