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Sample Legislation: Bed-and-Breakfast Inns

Bed-and-Breakfast Inns

Bed-and-breakfast inns are a wonderful alternative to hotels and motels for travelers. For the establishment owners, it’s a great way to meet new people while making extra money. Since bed-and-breakfast inns are becoming more and more popular, it’s a good idea to have legislation to ensure that they retain their charm while meeting zoning and building code regulations. We offer free sample legislation that restricts the length of a visitor’s stay; requires that only breakfast is served; prohibits cooking facilities in bedrooms; specifies the number of parking spaces that must be provided; sets forth the maximum number of guests at any one time; contains restrictions on signs; and requires owner occupancy. An application must be submitted for review, before even alterations to the building design, and inspections are required.

Sample Ordinances:

Mount Morris, V. NY: Ch. 61
Riverhead, T. NY: § 108-3 and § 108-64.5
West Goshen, Twp. PA: § 84-57.3 and § 84-4


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Mount Morris, V. NY:


Chapter 61



[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Mount Morris 3-10-1994 as L.L. No. 3-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]


§ 61-1. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to authorize and regulate the establishment and operation of bed-and-breakfasts in the Village of Mount Morris and to ensure the preservation of the character, integrity and property values of surrounding areas within which such facilities are located and maintained.


§ 61-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

BED-AND-BREAKFAST — A dwelling in which rooms are rented to guests with no more than one (1) meal served daily, and the entire service, food and lodging are to be included in one (1) stated price.

DWELLING — A building containing one (1) or more rooms with provision for living, cooking, sanitary and sleeping facilities arranged for the permanent occupancy of one (1) family and used exclusively therefor.


§ 61-3. Compliance with Uniform Code required; classification.

All bed-and-breakfasts shall comply with the applicable provisions of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. All bed-and-breakfasts are, for the purpose of such code and this chapter, classified as B-2 (transient occupancy) for the purpose of construction, conversion and alteration under said code, rules and regulations.


§ 61-4. Permitted zones.

Bed-and-breakfasts shall be a permitted accessory use in any and all of the R-Districts of the Village of Mount Morris as established in the Village Zoning Code.


§ 61-5. Application.

  1. No bed-and-breakfast shall be established or operate within the Village of Mount Morris without first obtaining an application issued by the Code Enforcement Officer in accordance with the terms and conditions of this chapter. The applicant will submit four (4) copies of each of the following: an application, site plan and other supporting documentation to the Code Enforcement Officer along with a nonrefundable application fee of fifty dollars ($50.). The power to approve, approve with conditions or deny the application and site plan as required by this chapter is vested in the Code Enforcement Officer after review thereof by the Village Planning Board.


  2. Upon receipt of the application, site plan and application fee, the Code Enforcement Officer shall examine and review same to determine that it is complete, adequate in all respects and complies with the conditions of this chapter. After he has reviewed the application, site plan and other supporting documentation and determined same to be complete in all respects, he shall refer same to the Planning Board for its review and action within seven (7) days of receipt of the application. Simultaneously he shall deliver the application fee to the Village Clerk-Treasurer. The application and site plan shall contain the following:


    (1) Name, address and telephone number of the owner(s) and the applicant if the owner is not the applicant.

    (2) Address of proposed bed-and-breakfast, together with tax parcel identification number.

    (3) Zoning district classification of the site.

    (4) A sketch, drawn to scale, showing the floor plan of the dwelling, together with any proposed changes, renovations and additions to same.

    (5) A site plan showing the applicant's entire land holdings, that portion of the applicant's property under consideration, as well as all parcels and streets within two hundred (200) feet of applicant's property, and the current uses thereof.

    (6) The site plan shall be drawn to scale and include the following information:


    (a) Title of drawing.

    (b) North point, scale and date.

    (c) Boundaries of the project (site).

    (d) Location of all existing or proposed site improvements, including buildings, additions, expansions, driveways, parking areas, streets, retaining walls, fences and hedges.

    (e) Location of all existing and proposed access and egress drives.

    (f) Location, design and size of all existing and proposed signs and outdoor lighting facilities.

    (g) Location of existing and proposed buffer and screening areas, structures and vegetation.


  3. The Planning Board may require such additional or supportive information as it deems necessary for a complete assessment of the proposed bed-and-breakfast so as to ensure its compatibility with existing and permitted building and land uses adjacent to the site and in close proximity thereto.


§ 61-6. Conditions.

  1. The owner of the bed-and-breakfast must reside in and continue to reside in the dwelling as his/her/their principal residence. The owner will provide a sworn statement certifying to such residency upon request of the Code Enforcement Officer.


  2. The parcel improved by the bed-and-breakfast shall provide or establish off-street parking spaces for the members of the owner's family residing in the dwelling unit as well as at least one (1) parking space per room or unit let. Further, said parking spaces shall not be established or permitted in the front yard of the site and shall be located or screened from view so as to provided no variation from the residential character of the site.


  3. Each bed-and-breakfast shall be established, maintained and operated so as to preserve and compliment the residential character and integrity of the surrounding area when the facility is established in a residential district as provided for in the Village Zoning Code.


  4. The number of paying guests accommodated per night shall not exceed twenty-four (24). Further, no guest shall stay for a period of time in excess of thirty (30) consecutive days.


  5. Each bedroom occupied by a paying guest shall be equipped with a properly installed and functioning smoke detector. Further, a smoke detector shall be property installed and functioning on or near the ceiling in the room or hallway from which each bedroom rented to paying guests exists.


  6. The Code Enforcement Officer shall be given such access to the dwelling as he deems necessary from time to time for the purpose of making inspections to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local codes, rules and regulations, including the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Such inspections may be made with or without prior notice thereof.


  7. A single exterior sign or display may be established on the site of the bed-and-breakfast. Said sign or display shall not exceed eight (8) square feet in area. No freestanding sign shall be located less than fifteen (15) feet from the front property line nor less than five (5) feet from the side property line. No freestanding sign may be located less than fifty (50) feet from any other freestanding sign. Further, said sign or display shall be as unobtrusive as reasonably possible and may be illuminated by no more than two (2) seventy-five-watt light bulbs which shall be shielded so as to prevent glare, etc.


  8. The bed-and-breakfast shall be maintained and operated at all times so as to comply with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, as amended.


  9. The driveway entrance or exit shall not exceed fifteen (15) feet in width.


  10. The Planning Board shall have the right to impose and include much other and additional conditions as it may deem necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.


  11. The owner shall not make any change, deviation, modification or variation from the application and site plan once the same is approved by the Planning Board.


  12. Minimum lot size is ten thousand (10,000) square feet.


  13. Minimum house size is two thousand (2,000) square feet.


§ 61-7. Review procedures.

  1. Within thirty (30) days of the Planning Board's receipt of a completed application and site plan from the Code Enforcement Officer, the Planning Board shall act on it. In the event that the Planning Board fails to take such action, the application and site plan shall be deemed approved. The Planning Board's action shall be in the form of a written statement to the Code Enforcement Officer with a copy to the applicant clearly stating its recommendation for approval, conditional approval with the conditions enumerated, or denial with the reasons therefor. A copy of the minutes of the Planning Board meeting at which the application and site plan are considered may be deemed a sufficient report. The Planning Board's review of the application and site plan shall include but not be limited to the following considerations:


    (1) Adequacy and arrangement of vehicle traffic access and circulation.

    (2) Location, arrangement, appearance and sufficiency of off-street parking.

    (3) Location, arrangement, size and design of lighting and signs.

    (4) Relationship and compatibility of proposed use (bed-and-breakfast) to uses of adjacent parcels in the immediate vicinity, together with their scale.

    (5) Adequacy, type and arrangement of trees, shrubs, fences and other landscaping or improvement constituting a visual or noise-deterring buffer between the site and adjacent or adjoining uses.

    (6) Any other matter which may effect the health, welfare and safety of the community as a whole and the parcels in the immediate vicinity of the site.


  2. The Planning Board's statement may include recommendations as to desired renovations to the application and site plan.


§ 61-8. Repealer.

Any provision of the Mount Morris Village Zoning Code or the local laws of the Village of Mount Morris which are in conflict with or inconsistent with this chapter shall be deemed repealed to the extent of such inconsistency on the effective date of this chapter.


§ 61-9. Penalties for offenses.

A violation of these zoning provisions is hereby declared to be an offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding three hundred fifty dollars ($350.) or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six (6) months, or both, for conviction of a first offense; for a conviction of a second offense both of which were committed within a period of five (5) years, punishable by a fine not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350.) nor more than seven hundred dollars ($700.) or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six (6) months, or both; and, upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense all of which were committed within a period of five (5) years, punishable by a fine not less than seven hundred dollars ($700.) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.) or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six (6) months, or both. However, for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers generally, violations of such zoning provisions shall be deemed misdemeanors and for such purpose only all provisions of law relating to misdemeanors shall apply to such violations. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation.

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Riverhead, T. NY:


§ 108-3. Definitions.

BED-AND-BREAKFAST — The renting of not more than three rooms in an owner-occupied dwelling for lodging and serving of breakfast to not more than six casual and transient roomers, provided that the renting of such rooms for such purpose is incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the dwelling. The "bed-and-breakfast" use shall at no time be construed as a dwelling as defined by this chapter. The "bed-and-breakfast" use shall conform to the special permit provisions of this chapter; such special permit approved pursuant to Article XIII of this chapter. [Added 7-19-1994]

§ 108-64.5. Bed-and-breakfast facilities. [Added 7-19-1994]

The Town Board, in its consideration of bed-and-breakfast facilities, shall incorporate the special permit requirements of § 108-3 of this chapter and shall require the following:

  1. The bed-and-breakfast use shall be an accessory use to the principal use in residential, commercial and agricultural zoning use districts.


  2. The use in all districts allowed under this section shall be exclusively owner-occupied single-family housing. "Owner-occupied single-family housing" shall mean your legal primary residence as defined in the federal and state tax laws, with proof of real estate ownership/title of said premises and property.


  3. Residential buildings incorporating bed-and-breakfast as an accessory use shall be a minimum of 2,000 square feet in living area.


  4. The length of stay within a bed-and-breakfast shall be a maximum duration of one week or seven consecutive days, and documentation verifying the length of stay of each guest, such as a registration ledger or receipts, will be made available to the Code Enforcement Officer or the Building Department upon request.


  5. Cooking facilities shall be restricted from use in guest bedrooms.


  6. Guest rooms may not be used as legal residences in order to enroll children into a school district.


  7. Upon the issuance of a special permit for bed-and-breakfast facilities, the Town Board shall require an annual inspection and compliance permit for bed-and-breakfast use upon real property to be issued by the Building Department for continued operation. The Town Building Department shall either approve or deny the reissuance of this compliance permit for the bed-and-breakfast use as a result of such inspection. Said compliance permit is not transferable with the real property. New property owners must obtain a new compliance permit pursuant to Subsection J of this special permit requirement being fulfilled, i.e., a new written permission from the property owner allowing the town to conduct periodic inspections including the annual inspection shall be on file with the Building Department before issuance of the new compliance permit.


  8. All guest rooms must conform to the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code requirements for habitable space.


  9. A site plan and detailed floor plan shall be required as a condition of this special permit.


  10. Written permission from the property owner allowing the town to conduct periodic inspections including the annual inspection shall be on file with the Building Department before issuance of the compliance permit.


  11. Each special permit shall expire five years after the date of the initial compliance permit issued from the Building Department. The applicant must apply for a special permit renewal following the regular special permit process outlined within the Town Code.


  12. An application for a compliance permit shall be filed with the Building Department with a filing fee of $100 upon the initial application. No additional filing fee shall be required for five years after the date of the issuance of the initial compliance permit from the Building Department. Upon special permit renewal, as required in Subsection K of this section, a filing fee of $100 for a compliance permit shall become due. [Added 5-2-1995]


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West Goshen, Twp. PA:


§ 84-8. Definitions.

BED-AND-BREAKFAST INN — An owner-occupied building designed, used and occupied as a single-family residence having, as an accessory use therein, public lodging rooms and facilities for, and serving food and drink prepared within the building to, preregistered transient guests, which meets the requirements of § 84-57.3 of this chapter. [Added 11-24-1987 by Ord. No. 17-1987]



§ 84-57.3. Bed-and-breakfast inns. [Added 11-24-1987 by Ord. No. 17-1987]

No single-family residential building may be used or occupied as a bed-and-breakfast inn without compliance with all of the regulations established in this section and the issuance by the Zoning Officer of a use and occupancy permit.

  1. A bed-and-breakfast inn may be located in any zoning district but only within a building determined by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission to be an historic building or a building eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a building, 90% of the structure of which is documented to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer to be more than 100 years old and is certified by the Chester County Historical Society or the Township Planning Commission to be locally historically prominent because of its age, architecture or association with a prominent person or family.


  2. The number of guest rooms for transient accommodation shall not exceed three in any building having a habitable floor area, as defined in § 84-56C(1), of 3,000 square feet or less. One additional guest room may be added for each additional 600 square feet of habitable floor area up to a maximum total number of six guest rooms.


  3. The minimum lot size shall be the minimum lot size designated in the applicable zoning district, plus an additional 10,000 square feet for each guest room for any lot less than one acre.


  4. The building shall be the "principal residence" of the "owner," as these latter two terms are defined in § 84-56C(1).


  5. At a minimum, parking shall be provided as required by the minimum parking regulations of the applicable district; provided, however, that one additional parking space shall be required for each guest room and for one employee, if any. In all residential districts, the minimum parking setback from an adjacent property line shall be 15 feet, and, when four or more guests and employee parking spaces are provided, the parking area shall be screened from direct view of any adjacent residential use by a completely planted visual barrier consisting of a double row of evergreen plantings with a minimum height of six feet after the planting and placed no more than eight feet apart. The required plantings shall be staggered so as to provide as complete a visual barrier as is possible.


  6. No more than one employee shall be permitted to work on the premises at any time, and none shall be present between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Members of the owner's immediate family who are residents on the premises shall not be considered employees, whether or not paid.


  7. Notwithstanding anything contained in any of the applicable district regulations, any inn containing four or more guest rooms shall be served by public sewer.


  8. All applicable requirements of the township's Building, Electrical, Fire and Plumbing Codes shall be met.


  9. No guest may be registered for a maximum continuous period in excess of seven consecutive nights. The owner shall maintain a guest register and shall preserve registration records for a minimum of three years. The register and all records shall be made available for inspection by the Township Zoning Officer or Codes Enforcement Officer at any time.


  10. Any meals provided and any amenities connected with the guest rooms, such as a swimming pool or tennis court, shall be solely for the use of the owner, the owner's family and the owner's registered guest.


  11. One sign shall be permitted identifying the property as a bed-and-breakfast inn. The sign shall not exceed three square feet in area, shall be set back a minimum of three feet from the road right-of-way and shall contain no information other than identification of the premises as the named bed-and-breakfast inn.


  12. An application for a use and occupancy permit and the procedure for issuance shall be as set forth in § 84-56B(1)(a) through (f) and B(2).


  13. Upon compliance with all of the requirements of this section and other applicable codes and regulations, the Zoning Officer shall be authorized to issue a permit which shall be valid for a period of one year unless sooner revoked for violation of any condition imposed by the Zoning Officer, any misrepresentation of fact made to the Zoning Officer or Codes Enforcement Officer in conjunction with the application and review process or violation of this section or any provision of this Code. Within 30 days prior to the expiration of any such permit, the property owner shall make application for a permit renewal to the Zoning Officer, who shall, as a condition of issuance of such renewal, make an inspection of the premises for which the permit is sought to determine continued compliance with this Code. In the event that the Zoning Officer determines that a violation exists, the permit shall not be renewed until the violation is cured.


  14. Upon nonrenewal or revocation of the permit for cause shown, the use of the premises as a bed-and-breakfast inn shall immediately cease, and continuation thereof shall subject the owner to the penalty provisions of this chapter and/or such other legal action as the township shall determine necessary.




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