Barndominium permit

Barndominium owner Kristi Bass sits in on a Lacy Lakeview City Council meeting in which the council approved two bed-and-breakfast permits.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson, file

The owner of the Barndominium will return to Lacy Lakeview City Council on Tuesday with a new request to operate, the first application under the city’s new ordinance regulating short-term rental property.

Since Kristi Bass first applied for a permit last summer, which the council denied, there has been “controversy and chaos,” she said.

Two Class C misdemeanors, harassment by neighbors, personal attack by a council member, a plethora of media coverage, and a huge financial burden to bear. … The time, energy and financial costs that I have shouldered over the past six months really can’t be quantified,” Bass wrote in her new permit application.

Bass again seeks to legally turn the Barndominium into a short-term rental and now, a small wedding venue. She applied for the one-year permit Jan. 18 for the property, made popular by the HGTV program “Fixer Upper” when Chip and Joanna Gaines renovated the property for Todd and Lexia Meek in season 3, episode 11.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Lacy Lakeview City Hall council chambers, 501 E. Craven Ave.

This time Bass comes before the city’s elected leaders without her most vocal opponent on the council. Steven Moore resigned his seat Jan. 24. Moore lives near the Barndominium at 123 Spring Creek Road and filed a complaint to police about the facility, prompting Bass’ first citation.

Council members have said the Barndominium differs from the other rental properties in the city, because homeowners live in those facilities. The city informed Bass after her first special use permit request was denied that she must stop operating the Barndominium as a business, but she has continued to offer it for rental. The site is listed on VRBO.

Unfairly targeted

Bass wrote in her application to the city that she has been forced to hire multiple attorneys since filing the first request. Bass said she has been targeted and unfairly treated and wants to extend an olive branch and help facilitate her end goal.

“I simply can’t fathom anyone’s opposition to what I am proposing if they simply took the time to hear my heart, see my vision and openly consider the reality of the options,” she wrote.

Either way, Bass said, she must find a sustainable option to cover all the expenses and maintenance associated with a 2,700-square-foot home on 16 acres of land, with two lakes and dams and spillways. Bass makes note in her new application that if the property were subdivided and sold off, it would likely have 10 to 20 times more traffic, parking and lake issues.

At $1,200 per night and a two-night minimum stay, the city could reap a lot of taxes collected from guests, she wrote. If the Barndominium were rented out only two nights a week with a city tax rate of 6 percent, that would bring in $7,400 of tax revenue per year, she wrote.

Limiting impact

In Bass’ application, she lists several factors that limit the property’s impact on neighbors: The building sits more than 100 yards from the closest home and from the cul-de-sac. It has a forest of trees surrounding three-fourths of the property. There are only two homes that have a view of the barn from their property. No roadside parking is needed. And all guests are vetted, among other factors.

Although hosting weddings is not the primary component of the long-term vision of the property, Bass wrote, it’s only reasonable she should be able to keep this option available.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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