The Wellington Village Council on Tuesday sent a proposed bed and breakfast zoning ordinance back to its Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board for reconsideration.
On May 4, the zoning board recommended not approving proposed changes to land use regulations that would make the rules more amenable for bed and breakfast locations.
The proposed changes are at the request of applicant Mimi Hockman, who wants to establish a bed and breakfast in the Equestrian Preserve Area. There are currently no bed and breakfast locations in Wellington.
Mayor Anne Gerwig said that the council struggled with the question at its agenda review meeting the day before, adding that the zoning board had not made a recommendation to change the application, but instead recommended denial. “We’d like for them to take a look at it again and make a recommendation to refine this process,” Gerwig said.
Councilman Michael Drahos said that it is not the zoning board’s role to make a decision based on whether the project is economically viable.
“They should not be weighing in on that,” Drahos said. “It’s whether or not they have comments on its applicability and whether or not it’s suitable to the area. I don’t think economics should be factored into what PZAB is doing.”
Vice Mayor John McGovern said remanding the application back to the board will also to get a greater degree of interaction between the applicant and staff.
“Between the applicant and staff, we should be able to bring this forward in a different iteration later,” McGovern said.
“We’re fully aware of the items that trouble you the most, and we’ll work on those,” Growth Management Director Bob Basehart said.
Drahos made a motion to send the ordinance back for reconsideration, which carried 5-0.
In other business, the council approved a version of a charter amendment regarding the filling of council vacancies by special elections, rather than appointment. It is slated to go to the voters during the Aug. 30 primary election.
Although the powers of the mayor are no greater than those of council members, the charter has a different provision for filling a mayoral vacancy because it was written when residents approved having an elected mayor rather than one appointed by council members.
Council vacancies are currently filled by appointment of the four remaining council members. Other than that, the charter does not specify the process for filling the vacancy.
The council considered a number of ways to word the proposed charter amendment, eventually throwing out four narrowly written amendments in favor of a new amendment that members thought would cover all four of the proposals.
Vice Mayor John McGovern made a motion not to approve an amendment that would eliminate the power of the council to fill council vacancies, and provide for a special election if the vacancy is for more than 180 days, which carried 4-1 with Mayor Anne Gerwig opposed due to concern that the amendment, if approved, could be challenged.
McGovern also made a motion not to adopt an amendment stating that council members cannot be elected to more than two consecutive terms, including terms partially served, which carried 5-0.
McGovern then made a motion not to adopt an amendment stating that council members may not be eligible to fill a vacancy created by their own resignation or removal from office, which also carried 5-0.
He then made a motion not to adopt an amendment providing that a former mayor or council member is ineligible to run in a special election if their resignation or removal caused the need for that special election, which carried 5-0.
Finally, McGovern made a motion to adopt a proposed amendment that combined all four questions. That motion carried unanimously.