Lacy Lakeview City Council approved two special-use permits Tuesday for bed and breakfasts already operating in the city.

The elected officials also adopted an ordinance that prohibits reapplying within 180 days for anyone whose request for a special-use permit is denied. The move is not retroactive, City Attorney David Deaconson said.

“I would just like to say that with a bed and breakfast, they’re on-site, 24-hour, on-site management,” Mayor Pro Tem Denise Cogliati said. “There’s someone there the entire time. This is definitely not the same thing as a vacation rental. They’re two different things. I’m looking at it. It’s a separate thing.”

City Manager Keith Bond said the city did not have a time limit on reapplying for a permit in place before Tuesday’s vote.

The Barndominium in Lacy Lakeview, which was renovated on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” program and is now owned by Kristi Bass, has spurred the focus on bed-and-breakfast permitting in the city. Bass decided to operate the property as a vacation rental, which led to a flood of neighborhood complaints, two new city ordinances, and existing bed and breakfasts applying for permits after years without them.

Bass also received two citations accusing her of operating a business without a permit, which she is challenging.

One of the locations to receive a special-use permit Tuesday was Bed and Breakfast on White Rock Creek at 267 Ruby Dell Lane, which has operated in the city for 16 years without a permit and has not been cited for doing so.

The other is for a home on that same street, at 142 Ruby Dell Lane, which has operated for three years and is owned by council member Patrick Bell’s son and daughter-in-law. Bell recused himself from the vote.

Both special-use permits passed unanimously, and no one from the public spoke against either bed and breakfast during the public hearing. White Rock Creek’s application allows for up to 25 guests per day and is for five years. The council approved a one-year permit with an occupancy rate of eight people per day for the bed and breakfast at 142 Ruby Dell Lane.

Cogliati said the White Rock Creek Bed and Breakfast warranted a longer permit because of its long history of operating without any complaints against it.

The White Rock Creek Bed and Breakfast has even hosted city council meetings.

Council member Steven Moore, who has been a vocal opponent of the Barndominium operating as a vacation rental, did not attend the meeting.

Bass watched the vote and said after the meeting she was speechless.

The city has told Bass to cease operating her property at 123 Spring Creek Road as a vacation rental, but, as of Friday, the rental is listed on Airbnb and VRBO. The Barndominium sleeps up to 20 people.

Commotion in Lacy Lakeview started not long after Bass started the process to apply for a permit for the Barndominium in August.

After multiple meetings, residents’ petitioning, and Moore speaking out against the project, the special-use permit was denied. Residents said the area is residential and that the Barndominium sits at the end of a dead-end street. There also were complaints about potential effects to property values.

Ruby Dell Lane, the site of the other two permitted properties, is also a dead-end street lined with residential housing.

The municipal court judge and Bass will meet in April regarding the first citation she received, which was prompted by a complaint Moore made with the police department. The second citation sits in limbo until the first is addressed. The citations can include a fine of $1 to $2,000, plus court costs, and are Class C misdemeanors.

Also during the meeting, Cogliati asked city leaders to look into instituting an application fee for anyone submitting a request that prompts a public hearing, which includes special-use permits. She said the fee should cover the cost of labor and advertising associated with posting public notices for the hearings.

City Secretary Michelle Hicks said the last public hearing cost $93 to post.

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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