The Grand County Council voted Tuesday, Dec. 5 to restrict bed and breakfasts to the commercial overlay zone. The change has been the subject of public discussion for months. Many residents showed up at a Nov. 21 public hearing to voice their opinions, mostly in favor of restricting bed and breakfasts to the zone.
The alternative option, which the council did not pass, would have strengthened existing regulations on bed and breakfasts, mandating that they are owner-operated and owner-occupied, would limit them to a maximum of two bedrooms or four guests per night, and require that the owner be present when guests are present, among other stipulations. It would also have required a buffer zone between bed and breakfasts to limit the density of overnight rentals occurring in any given residential area.
Instead, the council approved the measure restricting bed and breakfasts to the overlay zone in a six-to-one vote, with Council Member Jaylyn Hawks opposed.
“I will state that I am a bed and breakfast owner ... I think that this could be worked out without taking this drastic measure,” Hawks said. “I realize that I am viewed as having a conflict of interest. I want you to know that had I ever been voting in favor of a solution that would benefit my business, I would have recused myself. My votes have been in favor of a solution that would actually add competition to my business.”
Council Member Curtis Wells expressed his reasons for restricting bed and breakfasts to the overnight accommodation overlay zone.
“Grand County is headed down a path where there’s ample commercial opportunity for lodging accommodations and if we don’t work … to protect residential quality in certain areas, I think it would be a big mistake,” Wells said. “I think [the alternative] adds an unrealistic depth to our ability to enforce and creates a bit of a bottomless pit of detective-type work to enforce that bed and breakfasts are following the rules. It’s important to me that 50 years from now, as Moab continues to trend towards a resort community, that folks are able to be protected from commercial activity in residential areas.”