nning's meeting Tuesday night, when a crowd showed up to speak concerning Kaye's request to expand her bed and breakfast, Peabody House, from three to five lodging units. Kaye has operated Peabody House since 1990.
A major concern for the request was parking, and commissioners did a site visit to 7 Armstrong Street before the meeting to check out the situation. City code requires one parking space per lodger and two for the owner, who must live on the property.
Chair Beverly Blankenship explained Kaye had appropriately sent out letters to neighbors and paid the necessary fees, and commissioners visiting had determined she had sufficient parking available for the expansion.
Kaye received an overwhelming vote of support from her neighbors. Michelle Greene, Barbara Kellogg, Ben Rodda, Joe Ratliff and others all described Kaye as an ideal neighbor and business owner who was a welcome part of their community.
Commissioner Michelle Greene also read into the record two letters of support from neighbors not present.
Only one person questioned the application. Pat Matsukis of 5 Mountain Street expressed concern with the parking situation on Armstrong and criticized the effect of bed and breakfasts in Eureka's neighborhoods. She pointed to weekend nights when people parked slantwise on the street and made access difficult for emergency vehicles.
"Don't say yes to her because she's a nice person," Matsukis said. "You have to judge the criteria. The parking on the street doesn't make it. The last five years I feel the parking has been commandeered by the people who live there. During the 1980s we needed bed and breakfasts to help fix up all these old buildings, but now we don't. There is another B&B next door. I think we should table this."
Commissioners decided parking was not a problem, since Kaye owned contiguous property for that purpose, and Kaye took the mike to explain the people parking badly on the street were not her customers.
In the end, Kaye's application was granted to cheers from the crowd.
Yard sales reined in
The other big issue Planning tackled this meeting was the issue of yard sales in Eureka. By city code, anyone can apply three times a year for a three-day permit to have yard sales. As a result, critics say, people are "ganging up" to get multiple permits under different names and then having yard sales at a single location for multiple weekends in a row, creating annoyance for neighbors with parking and noise disturbance.
Resident Dee Purkeypile addressed the problem of a neighbor of his who had been holding an extended yard sale for at least a month, and keeping it open until late at night on several occasions. "The police confirmed she could keep it open till midnight, which I feel is a long time frame," Purkeypile said. "I kind of hate to bring it up, but with taking three or four days to set up and tear down, and the hours, especially late at night with cars passing ... I just think you might consider tightening up the rules."
The commission ultimately decided to send on to city council a recommendation that city code be rewritten to limit yard sales to three times per year per address, and setting hours of operation at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Council will ultimately be the ones who make the changes to code.
During public comments, Matsukis again approached the mike to express her dissatisfaction with changes in the community and with the commission. "I have been a planning commissioner," she said, "and I have stood behind you for years, saying every project large or small should come before you. But I am tired of people coming in here asking for forgiveness when they've broken code, rather than permission. I don't want to be a bad neighbor either way, but unless you submit to city council that you need a professional planning person, what's the point of any of this? None of you are professional, God love you. Go back and look at your master plan. So many of these issues have been talked about there."