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Annapolis Ward 1 alderwoman selling bed and breakfast to focus on City Council role

Alderwoman Elly Tierney, D-Ward-1, stands in front of Chez Amis, the bed and breakfast she and her husband, Joe, have owned for nine years.
Alderwoman Elly Tierney, D-Ward-1, stands in front of Chez Amis, the bed and breakfast she and her husband, Joe, have owned for nine years. (Jeffrey F. Bill)

Annapolis Alderwoman Elly Tierney is selling the bed and breakfast she and her husband have owned for nearly a decade so she can focus solely on being a council member.

Since she was elected alderwoman in December 2017, Tierney, D-Ward 1, hasn’t been able to focus fully on running Chez Amis Bed and Breakfast on East Street, which she and her husband Joe have owned since 2011, she said.

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And now is the time to sell. The four-bedroom property was put up for sale this week with a listing price of $1.017 million, according to the listing on the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage website.

“I have not been working on it full-time and that matters. That means you don't return phone calls as much. You don't proactively market weekend getaways and the events coming to Annapolis,” she said of the bed and breakfast. “It does break my heart because I did love it but I really had to make that decision to do what I thought was best for me here in Annapolis now and using my talents where I know they're needed.”

The 0.03-acre property dates back to the 17th century and at one point was meant to be the site of a summer home for former Maryland Governor Francis Nicholson, according to the bed and breakfast’s website. Last century, it was operated as a local grocery store until the 1970s and became a bed and breakfast in the 1990s.

Tierney “puts 120% into anything she sets her mind to,” Joe Tierney, a construction project executive, wrote in a message. “I met her in construction and we followed our dream to run a bed and breakfast. ... But she’s ready for her next chapter in devoting full time to her role as alderwoman.”

Once the sale is finalized, Tierney will be able to participate and vote in the debate about legislation relating to short-term rental properties that come before the council, said Annapolis Ethics Commission Chair Jim Dolezal, something she has not been able to do for more than two years.

In January 2018, Dolezal issued an opinion that Tierney owning a bed and breakfast could be a potential conflict of interest. In November, the commission upheld their earlier decision after Tierney wrote a letter arguing that she has been unable to adequately represent her Ward 1 constituents.

She has complied with the recusal dating back to last spring when, O-26-19, a bill aimed to regulate short-term rental properties was introduced. The bill passed in January by a 6-1 vote.

Tierney said she is looking forward to being able to fully represent the residents of Ward 1, many of whom for months spoke vociferously against O-26-19 during several public meetings and hearings at City Hall.

But more legislation relating to the properties that use services like Airbnb and HomeAway are looming. At Monday’s meeting, Alderman Rob Savidge, Ward-7, introduced a resolution that would have put a moratorium on issuing new short-term rental licenses. Just prior to the discussion, Acting Mayor Rhonda Pindell Charles, D-Ward 3, asked Tierney to leave the room. Tierney had said she would vote for a moratorium, which failed 3-3 after she stepped out.

Another bill will seek to amend the city’s zoning code in an attempt to combat the density of short-term rental properties that residents have complained about.

“The intent of the comprehensive plan in protecting at-risk residential districts in the historic neighborhood has been totally ignored,” Tierney said. “It’s going to be very exciting to pursue that.”

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