Moratorium Stops New Bed And Breakfasts Coming To Eureka Springs

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EUREKA SPRINGS (KFSM) -- No new bed and breakfasts will be popping up in arguably one of Arkansas' most popular tourist areas anytime soon.

The city council passed a moratorium on B&Bs on June 27 with a 4-2 vote.

The Eureka Springs Planning Commission will take over by drafting new rules concerning B&Bs within city limits.

The new rule was spearheaded by alderman and restaurant owner, James DeVito, who said housing options for people who live and work in the small city are lacking.

"The availability for rental properties for people who live and work here is diminishing," DeVito said. "The more B&Bs that we allow in the residential areas, the more it fragments the fabric of residential Eureka Springs."

Opponents have responded by calling the six month moratorium unfair.

Alderman Mickey Schneider is one of those who doesn't agree with the rule and voted against it. She said the moratorium negatively affects bed and breakfast owners.

"The owner or manager has to live there," Schneider said. "So a B&B is not a second home being rented out when the owner lives in another state. The owners actually live on site; they are locals."

DeVito argued that a B&B manager would suffice per city rules that are currently in place. He said that nothing would stop people from coming into the city and buying homes for business.

"There's no ordinances to preclude that somebody with enough deep pockets to come in to buy a number of B&B properties and just put their managers on site," DeVito said. "That's the only requirement that we have."

There does however, seem to be common ground for both sides and it would include giving developers incentives to turn old lodges and motels into apartments for local residents.

"We have 5,000 hotels and motel [rooms] that can't fill up even during peak time that could be perfect apartment complexes," Schneider said.

Both alderman agreed that there needs to be more affordable housing options for residents.

"If someone really wanted to make a good investment, this is the area to go. We get seasonal workers, we get people who would love to move here," Schneider said. "There are no apartment complexes to speak of."