New Bern Board of Aldermen blocks new bed & breakfasts

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) After a New Bern Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night, bed and breakfasts will no longer be allowed in certain residential areas.

“I’m for strong neighborhoods. I believe that if someone buys a home in a residential area they need to know it’s residential, that it’s not commercial in any way shape or form,” said Sabrina Bengel, New Bern Board of Aldermen.

Two years ago a group of residents came to the board concerned about more beds and breakfasts opening in their neighborhood.

Since then, three are still operating with the proper permitting in residential zones, while 15 others are not.

“No other neighborhood in our city allows it. Why should it just be this neighborhood?” said Bengel.

Tuesday night, the board voted to suspend any special use permits for a bed and breakfast to be filed in residential areas as of November 1.

“I think the Aldermen that voted with me in the majority decided it would be a good idea to put everything on pause and study it and maybe come back with some stricter zoning guidelines,” said Bengel.

Some citizens are speaking out telling WNCT visitors need a way to see New Bern on a local level.

“For a small quaint town like this, I think that adds to its character. Plus, we don’t have a hotel. I just feel like there are tourists here all the time and we need to make more things available to them,” said Ellen Price, owner of Blue Magnolia.

For now, board members are putting any kind of bed and breakfast development on hold, and they’re looking into whether zoning or permitting needs to be changed.

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