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Council passes bill on B&Bs; Eastport residents press for regulation of establishments; 'Standards are necessary'


After almost two years of pressing aldermen for a law to regulate the growing number of bed and breakfast establishments in Eastport, residents were relieved when the Annapolis city council passed the ordinance last night.

"I'm glad to see that it finally went through," said Daryl Roberts, an Eastport resident who worked on the legislation with Ward 8 Democratic Alderman Ellen Moyer, the sponsor of the ordinance.

"There wasn't any legislation that dealt with any of the operations of a bed and breakfast such as parking, size If there are no guidelines, it's pretty much anything goes."

The ordinance that the council unanimously approved is similar to that which regulates bed and breakfasts in downtown Annapolis. It allows no more than two bed and breakfast homes per block and bars establishments from being side-by-side.

But it has additional clauses that require owners to provide parking spaces for its guests -- one space for every one or two guest rooms, three for a three-room establishment and so on -- and states that rented rooms may not occupy more than 60 percent of the living space of a single-family dwelling.

"We wanted to limit how much of your house can be used for a B & B," said Dirk Geratz, a city urban design planner and Eastport resident who worked on the legislation. "It kind of ensures that the entire house doesn't go over to a B & B use."

The ordinance also states that homeowners renting rooms to visitors for graduations and boating events do not need a bed and breakfast license.

Eastport has three bed and breakfasts, all of which have sprung up in last two years.

None of the three opposed the legislation, and one owner helped craft the final version.

"The standards are necessary if there are going to be B & Bs," Moyer said. "The owner needs to know that there are certain things he or she cannot do."

Other Eastport-related bills dominated public discussion at the meeting. After County Executive Janet S. Owens -- at Mayor Dean L. Johnson's invitation -- rang a bell to start the meeting, irate Eastport residents took turns, talking about 45 minutes against two ordinances introduced by Ward 7 Republican Alderman Michael E. Fox.

Fox's bill proposes extending the Annapolis harbor line on Back Creek to accommodate bigger boats at two private marinas.

The residents argued that the water is public property and called for the council to form a citizens committee, consult waterway experts and hold hearings before voting.

"What are we going to do when our creek [becomes overused]?" said Paul Lebow. "We can't build another creek."

The evening's only comic relief came at the meeting's beginning when Jefferson Holland, Minister of Propaganda of the farcical Maritime Republic of Eastport, gave a report on the success of its recent tug-of-war game in November with Annapolitans.

The republic was "founded" when Eastport residents staged a mock secession from Annapolis in January when the Spa Creek Bridge was closed temporarily for repairs.

Holland declared the Republic's win has prompted them to rename Second Street the "Avenue of Our Glorious Victory."

Pub Date: 12/15/98

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