BERLIN — A new bed and breakfast should be up and running in town in as little as nine weeks.
Mark Kauffman asked the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Wednesday for Conditional Use approval regarding a property on Harrison Avenue. Kauffman plans on turning the house, which has records dating back to at least 1790, into a four-bedroom bed and breakfast and has been in the process of renovating and reconstructing the house for the last year.
“You should be complemented for what you’re doing,” said board member Sonny Adkins. “It’ll be an asset to the town.”
Kauffman is hoping to finish the improvements he’s making to the building within the next six weeks, all of which he’s doing himself.
“I know it’s one of the oldest homes in the town,” said BZA President Joe Moore.
Kauffman agreed, calling the timbers within the house “museum quality.” Unfortunately, he revealed that the house had been “gutted” over the years, making it much different outwardly than it was when first built.
However, attorney Mark Cropper, who represented Kaufmann in front of the board, pointed out that his client’s efforts would help to preserve the building itself, keeping with Berlin’s historic nature.
Cropper also ran through a list of benefits that the bed and breakfast would bring the town. He asserted that it would enhance surrounding property value while also remaining “low impact” on neighbors.
Joe Hill, a town resident that owns property near the site, was convinced by Kauffman’s proposal.
“I was concerned about dumpster location,” said Hill.
However, after seeing a site plan, he remarked that his initial worries had been settled.
One other potential disturbance that concerned the BZA was security lighting. The board wanted to know how severe Kauffman was planning on making the building’s lighting.
“There will be lighting in the back of the house illuminating the parking area,” Kauffman said. Other than that, he claimed lighting would be minimal.
The BZA unanimously approved the application. The fact that Kauffman also wished to offer cooking lessons at the site generated some discussion, but it was determined that such a desire had nothing to do with the BZA and could be further examined when Kauffman applied for a business license.