On Monday night, the Winona Planning Commission voted to send two recommendations to the city council for approval: the zoning of 12 recently annexed properties in Pleasant Valley and new rules for bed and breakfast businesses (B&Bs).
The Pleasant Valley properties were annexed over the last few years through the 2005 Orderly Annexation Agreement (OAA) between the city of Winona and Wilson Township, which allows property owners to opt for annexation. Upon annexation, the properties lost their former Wilson Township zoning and currently lack zoning by the city.
City Planner Mark Moeller recommended that 10 of the properties be zoned R-1 (Single Family Residential) and that two properties, which are farther south on Highway 17, be zoned R-S (Residential-Suburban). Moeller said that those zoning districts would fit into the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan for the area and would match the existing uses and lot sizes well. The meeting included a public hearing on the zoning matter, but no one voiced concerns. The planning commission voted unanimously to pass that recommendation on to the city council.
Similarly, the public hearing for the recommended new B&B rules was a “no-show.” Subsequently, the planning commission voted unanimously to forward the recommendations for B&Bs and tourist homes (a lodging business similar to B&Bs) to the city council.
The recommended new rules make a number of changes. First, they would strike current city code language requiring B&Bs and tourist homes to be located in buildings with “demonstrated community historical significance” and allow them in any appropriately zoned district. Second, under current language, guests are required to stay in the “primary residence” of the host. The new rules would expand that to allow other buildings which are on the same lot as the host’s residence. Third, the recommendations would expand the zoning districts in which B&Bs and tourist homes are allowed to include areas zoned Agricultural, Residential-Rural, and Residential-Suburban. However, all new B&Bs or tourist homes would be required to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the Winona Board of Adjustment, including in R-2 zones, which previously did not need a CUP. Moeller said the intention of requiring a CUP in all instances is to allow transparency, since neighbors would be notified and have a chance to speak before the board of adjustment.
Whether the new rules are enacted is up to the city council, which will hear the recommendations at the next meeting on Tuesday, February 19.