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Planners awaken to idea of a BB

Allison T. Williams

For some, it’s been a long time coming.

But if all goes as scheduled, Suffolk’s first bed and breakfast will be opening in downtown by July.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously recommended approving a permit allowing Chesapeake teacher Ruth Bitting to open Carriage House Bed and Breakfast in her two-story, circa-1880 home on Bank Street. The Suffolk City Council is expected to review her request in May.

Bitting, who is proposing to open three guestrooms in her house, plans to operate 365 days a year, according to city planning documents. Breakfast is the only meal that will be served.

“I’m excited about the downtown revitalization,” said Bitting. “A B&B will bring business into the city and tourism will no longer have to send people asking about B&B’s to another city.

“I think guests will leave here with a good feeling about Suffolk … and spread the word to their friends and neighbors.”

Elizabeth McCoury, assistant to the city manager and former downtown development coordinator, agreed, adding that she has been trying to woo a B&B to Suffolk for years.

“I think it will do well here,” she said. “There are a lot of people who love the unique character and charm found in a bed and breakfast.

“When you are inside the room of a national franchise hotel, you could be in any place in the world.”

The tourism department gets constant requests for B&B, added McCoury. Right now, those prospective Suffolk visitors are usually referred to Smithfield.

Andy Damiani, president of the Downtown Business Association, endorsed Bitting’s proposal.

“This is good news for us and the downtown community,” said Damiani. “It will be a good addition to our downtown mix.

“Visitors like to be in walking distance to the shops and restaurants in a downtown. We think it’s a great idea.”

allison.williams@suffolknewsherald.com