After Bexley City Council returns from its July recess, one of the issues it will take up is legislation that would allow a conditional use permit for a bed and breakfast at 519 S. Drexel Ave. and enact a hotel/motel/bed-and-breakfast tax.
Council members discussed the first reading of both ordinances at their June 11 meeting. Richard Sharp, chairman of council's finance committee, said he introduced the ordinance that would enact the tax without knowing about the application for the bed and breakfast conditional use permit. He said he proposed the tax at several previous council meetings.
The benefit of a hotel/motel/bed-and-breakfast tax is that it would generate revenue for the city if it does attract a new hotel and/or allow bed and breakfasts to operate in the city, Sharp said.
"If any of these people didn't go to the bed and breakfast (in Bexley), they'd be going to hotels at Cassady Avenue or at the airport, Easton," Sharp said. "The city of Columbus would be collecting a motel/hotel tax, so the city (of Bexley) would just be giving up revenue."
Council members and city administrators discussed the pros and cons of allowing bed and breakfasts to operate in the city. The conditional use permit for 519 S. Drexel Ave. would allow four guest rooms and would allow guests to stay no more than 14 consecutive days.
Mayor Ben Kessler said he's in favor of granting conditional use permits for bed and breakfasts on a case-by-case basis. The 519 S. Drexel Ave. property lends itself to such a use because of its proximity to the commercial corridor on East Main Street, he said.
"This particular case, with where this property is, with the surrounding properties, it seems to work," Kessler said. "There are no adjacent single-family residences ... It seems to have that commercial feel."
Michael and Lesli Mautz said they bought the Drexel Avenue property at the beginning of June. They said they plan to live on the second floor and thought the property would make a good bed and breakfast because of its location near East Main Street.
"It's close to things you want to walk to," Lesli Mautz said. "It's close to restaurants, it's close to synagogues, it's close to Capital."
The Mautzes said they believe there will be a demand for the bed and breakfast, especially among observant Jews who host family and friends from out of town during bar and bat mitzvahs and other special occasions.
"We think, done with the right operators, this can be a win-win for the community where you can have your friends stay locally," Michael Mautz said. "We think it will be a win for the local businesses. We think it can be a win for the city, whether it's spin-off revenue, a hotel tax."
City Attorney Louis Chodosh suggested the city hold a public meeting before council makes a decision about the bed and breakfast in order to give neighbors an opportunity to provide their feedback.