Controversial B&B request is appealed

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

The Enumclaw Planning Commission's decision to grant "bed and breakfast" status to a historic Griffin Avenue home has been appealed by a neighboring property owner, and a review of the earlier decision was scheduled to go before the City Council this week.

Results from the Monday night meeting of the City Council were not available at press time. An account of that meeting will appear in the next issue (Feb. 4) of The Courier-Herald.

At the center of the debate is the stately home of Kent and Joanne Decker, which sits on a corner lot at 1513 Griffin Ave. The home had been on the market for some time, and local residents Galen and Teresa Schmidt had made an offer. Simultaneously, the Schmidts sought a conditional use permit from the city, which would allow the property to be transformed into a two- or three-bedroom bed and breakfast. The Schmidts also stated a desire to use the property to host special events.

On Nov. 30, the Planning Commission heard the matter, eventually approving the bed and breakfast plan but prohibiting the hosting of other events.

The Schmidts are no longer attempting to purchase the Decker home, but - according to a report from Community Development Director Les Johnson - the Deckers have asked that the Planning Commission decision stand. In an interview, Johnson said the decision applies to the property in question, and would not be voided because the Schmidts are no longer part of the picture.

Arthur Britton, one of the neighbors originally opposing the Schmidts plans, paid the city-imposed $200 fee to appeal the Planning Commission decision. In his written appeal, Britton made three points:

The Planning Commission, he said, "failed to listen to the overwhelming testimony from neighbors who wrote or spoke against the proposal."

The original application included a provision for special events, Britton said. Rather than requiring the Schmidts to reapply, "the city changed the rules."

The Decker's name does not appear on the original request, Britton wrote, suggesting the Planning Commission's decision should not transfer from the applicants to the Deckers.

On Monday, the City Council had several options, Johnson said. Members could uphold the earlier decision by the Planning Commission, reverse that decision or send the matter back to the planners for further review.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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