You have written these comments without even calling me for clarification of the situation. For your readers, I need to explain the details so this situation is not just a one sided opinion of the events as they happened.
When I bought my property on Hannah Road, (then Hannah Highlands Road), it was zoned rural/farm/forest. A permit for a one or two room bed and breakfast inn only required an over the counter permit. Across the road from me was a bed and breakfast, "West Winds" that had been here operating for at least ten years before I even bought my property. It is now owned by Bob and Lissa McDowell as their island residence.
When the plans were submitted to the planning department, there had been a change in County Council members, who decided that granting the permit would then require a Board of Adjustment hearing. I had four of those, plus three Superior Court hearings when my permit was granted. Each time my B&B permit was granted, the hostile group found another reason to appeal the decision. My agreement to not pass on the B&B permit to a new owner was volunteered by me to appease some neighbors, and was not a requirement of granting that permit. I assumed my home would be sold as a residence in the future.
The "ringleader" of the opposition then had the zoning changed to residential, as well as the name of the road, from Hannah Highlands Road, to just Hannah Road, as the name of my inn was the Highland Inn of San Juan Island. (It now requires the inn to be within 500 ft of the County Road, and I am located 1,000 ft. ..500 ft less and the permit would be allowed!) That neighbor moved to Hawaii some years ago, and all but one neighbor supported my application for the permit to continue in the December hearing.
One neighbor's main complaint was "children would not be safe walking to the school bus on our road". (That child is driven to the school bus).
The only other in opposition of my request was the Friends of the San Juans. Their "Mission Statement" was read at the hearing by one of my neighbors in my support and asked their attorney and the judge how my case had any relevance to their statement and everyone laughed. It was so ridiculous! They are interfering with everything beyond their stated interests and seem to be pitting neighbors against one another.
I have been in business for fifteen years here with no complaints. There are three vacation rentals on our road now with no supervision and allowed more guests, and yet, that is what was granted for a new owner of my property. A bed and breakfast requires the owner to live on site, and I am limited to two couples in my two guest suites. The vacation rental permit will now allow up to nine guests with no owner on site!
By the way, all the neighbors but one wrote letters of support and have become good friends and have not "put up with my business" for fifteen years. Times have changed and the neighborhood has made me feel very welcome. They have appreciated the convenience of having nearby accommodations for friends and guests who come to visit.
Sadly, I feel you have distorted the facts of my case without even taking the time to clarify them with me.
Helen C. King
Innkeeper/owner The Highland Inn of San Juan Island
You wrote: "Or another one of their examples - Helen King's bed and breakfast. She built it in an area it wasn't allowed. NOT TRUE!! *
The other residents on the private road vehemently opposed it. The compromise was a conditional use permit (CUP) issued with the caveat it would be void when she sold the property. I OFFERED THAT TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO APPEASE THEM. IT WAS NOT A COURT ORDER
Fifteen years later, she decides she wants to ignore what she signed. She wants to sell the property with the CUP. Kilduff's blog spins the story as the case of a poor elderly woman who cannot sell her home because of the onerous government regulations which took away her property rights.
I HAVE TRIED TO SELL MY PROPERTY AS A RESIDENCE FOR MANY YEARS, COMING DOWN IN MY PRICE MANY TIMES. I HAD AN OFFER TO PURCHASE AS A B&B BUT THE BUYERS ARE NO LONGER INTERESTED WITHOUT THAT PERMIT. I AM 82 AND RUNNING THIS BUSINESS BY MYSELF AND WOULD LIKE TO RETIRE. SADLY, THE TRADITION I HAVE ESTABLISHED AS ONE OF THE FINEST B&B'S ON THE ISLAND WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE.
Apparently property rights as defined by the blog, don't extend to the others on Hannah Heights road. The property owners who have put up with King's business for 15 years and expect the rules to be followed don't factor into the equation." ALL BUT ONE NEIGHBOR WAS IN SUPPORT OF THE PERMIT BEING GRANTED!
* Editor's Note: Ms. King is correct, this one statement was incorrect. B&Bs are not allowed in the land use designation now, but were allowed then with a CUP. The error has been corrected. Her B&B was allowed with the issuance of the CUP which included the expiration date.
The Hearing Examiner's decision is posted on the county website. The property now has a vacation rental permit for a maximum of four guests.