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The lakefront complainers are at it again — trying to prevent anybody else from getting a shot at even a one-night stay in their lovely neighborhood.

Evanston has had a bed and breakfast ordinance for two decades, and in that time, officials say, the city has received a grand total of three requests to open bed and breakfast establishments with a combined total of 15 guest rooms.

But to hear the lakefront complainers talk, you’d think armageddon had arrived and that every B&B guest was going to turn out to be a sexual pervert who’d snatch their children.

And this sort of foolishness even comes from the mouths of people who admit that they love staying at B&Bs when they themselves are vacationing elsewhere.

Since no legal bed and breakfast establishment has yet opened in Evanston, the logical approach for the City Council to take is to hold off on any new regulation until we’ve seen what life is like with a few B&Bs.

Evanston has five hotels with a total of 724 guest rooms. No new hotel has been built here in over a decade, although two new hotel proposals reportedly are in the works.

Given that there’s been no dramatic growth in our population in recent decades and no major new attractions to draw additional out-of-town visitors, its extremely unlikely that Evanston will soon be swamped with requests to open more B&Bs. It wouldn’t make economic sense.

Over the past three years three requests have been submitted, and so far two have been approved. If the city received another request each year for the next five years, that would still total only a maximum of 40 bed and breakfast rooms in a town of 75,000 people.

Surely we can survive a “crisis” like that and, if needed, take another look at city policy toward bed and breakfasts once a few have actually been up and running for a few years.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. B&Bs

    Thanks and kudos, Bill, for your eminently reasonable and rational statement.  Refreshing change from the sort of hyperbole that often characterizes discussion among Evanston citizenry about issues of the day.

    1. Let the B&Bs be

      I agree. Let the B&Bs be.

      Not sure why anyone would think a beautiful B&B on the lakefront would attract dangerous characters or be harmful in any way.  

      Best,

      Joy

    2. B & Bs

      I look forward to being able to house my visitors nearby in a lovely B & B.  I hope the one at 300 Church St. opens soon!  pw

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