ROCKLAND, Maine — The longtime owners of a historic inn have asked the city council to amend bed and breakfast regulations to allow them to move into an adjoining historic building they bought last month.
Cheryl Michaelsen and Mike LaPosta of the Berry Manor Inn met with Rockland city councilors Monday evening to propose changes to the bed and breakfast regulations.
The couple purchased the Talbot Home on Dec. 10 from the nonprofit corporation that operated it for generations as an assisted living facility for the elderly. The Talbot Home is adjacent to the Berry Manor Inn, located at 81 Talbot Ave.
The existing city regulations governing bed and breakfast businesses require the owner reside in the inn. Michaelsen and LaPosta asked the regulation be amended to allow for an owner to live on a contiguous lot.
The couple want to move into the Talbot Home and make that their private residence.
“After 16 years of being an innkeeper it would be nice to have space for our friends and family to come and visit without giving up guest space. It also affords us the space to consider bringing in a live-in innkeeper to help us out with day to day 24 hour operations,” the couple stated in an email to councilors on Dec. 24.
The couple asked that the city ordinance also be changed to allow for up to 14 rooms per lot if there are multiple buildings on the lot and if it uses existing buildings.
“So many of the beautiful historic homes that are often converted into B&Bs have the space and the layout to be able to accommodate up to eight rooms and at least converting the building to a B&B is less detrimental than the multi-unit apartment buildings on a neighborhood and does require that the property maintains its curb appeal,” the couple wrote in their email.
The councilors asked that the city attorney and staff come up with proposed amendments by their next meeting on Jan. 12 so a preliminary vote could be taken. Interim City Manager Tom Luttrell asked that the staff have until February to work on the proposed changes, but Councilor William Clayton said the offseason is when inn owners have more available time. Clayton pushed to have the amended regulations ready for a vote next week as originally proposed.
If the changes are approved on Jan. 12, a formal public hearing and final vote could be held in February and the amended regulations could be effective in March.