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Bed and breakfast proposal raises questions for Aspinwall officials

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Aspinwall could be faced with a question of how to handle bed and breakfasts in the borough.

The borough has been approached with a proposal to open a bed and breakfast. The borough has a definition for bed and breakfast in its ordinances but does not have a specific location outlined.

Ed Crates, the borough's code enforcement officer, said the planning commission heard a preliminary proposal for a bed and breakfast but no application has been submitted.

“They (the planning commission) think it's a good idea for a bed and breakfast in Aspinwall; however, they would need more detail as it relates to parking, buffering and any other issues council may have,” Crates said.

A bed and breakfast would need approval from the zoning hearing board for a use variance. Solicitor Steve Korbel said the borough could make a proactive move and update its ordinances to permit bed and breakfasts in certain areas of the borough as a conditional use.

“Then you'd have more control over the situation,” Korbel said.

Getting a use variance also could be difficult because the applicant would need to prove that there was no other use for the site besides a bed and breakfast.

“I don't think they'd be able to do that,” Korbel said.

The borough also could send a representative to the zoning hearing board to express support or disapproval of the bed and breakfast idea.

Some residents, hearing rumors that a bed and breakfast was a possibility, have contacted the borough about the proposal, borough manager Melissa Lang said.

“I do anticipate questions and concerns,” Lang said.

A public hearing would have to be held on the proposal before action is taken.

Councilman Mark Ellermeyer said the applicant should make a presentation to council so they and the public can have a sense of what is planned.

“In the absence of information people will default to the rumor and that's never a good thing,” Ellermeyer said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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