Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cherry Street Inn Returns?

Let's welcome to Woodstock the new owners of the movie-made-famous Cherry Street Inn, the bed-and-breakfast of the movie, Groundhog Day. Rumors have been flying around Woodstock (Ill.) of a new B&B there, and this morning I passed the Special Use Permit sign in the front yard.

On Thursday, September 25, 2008, at 7:00PM at Woodstock City Hall there will be a public hearing for a permit for a bed-and-breakfast at the "Groundhog Day" house on Fremont Street where South Madison Street ends.

Let's also hope that they do not encounter the grief given to the owner of another B&B in town by neighbors and by the City. In that case neighbors seemed not to realize that a B&B is not a brothel.

One neighbor (kind of a scruffy guy himself) complained of the perverts that stay at a B&B. Another said he didn't want "that type" in Woodstock; you know the "types" that stay at a B&B; right? A couple spending the night at a B&B for $125, dining on the Square, driving a new BMW and attending a performance at the Opera House. Nah... who'd want that "type" in a residential neighborhood?!

The owner had a very difficult time passing the inspection by the City. She'd get a punch list with five items and, when the inspector returned to pass on them, he'd add five more.

The owner was required to install a very expensive commercial fire alarm system - a requirement which I understand the City has now abandoned. I told her she ought to sue the City and recover the $25,000 that she was forced to spend on a completely unreasonable requirement.

The final straw was when the inspector demanded a $5,000 fire-resistant glass window to replace her dining room window. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. She fought the City on that one and won.

When the tribe of angry neighbors presented their list of 50 questions to be answered at a public meeting at the library moderated by a councilman, now our mayor, I helped her craft initial answers.

One of the questions was, "How will the City (and we, the angry neighbors) know if you go out of business?"

I rather liked the answer I suggested (but she censored it - probably wisely). My answer was, "The ashes will be cold, and the firetrucks will be gone."

Good luck to the new owners and the future innkeepers of "Cherry Street Inn". May your course be smooth through the procedures at City Hall.

No comments: