Planners approve of B&B

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This home at 204 Bank St. will be turned into a bed-and-breakfast by the new owner if approved by City Council next month. The Planning Commission gave the project the green light on Tuesday.

The Planning Commission unanimously gave its stamp of approval to three conditional use permit requests on Tuesday.

The projects will be heard Jan. 16 by City Council, which makes the final determination.

Ruth Baker, who purchased at auction the 1909 mansion at 204 Bank St., won over the Planning Commission for her plans to convert the home into a bed-and-breakfast, as well as hold private parties there.

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“It’s showing great promise, in our eyes, for a very prominent property in our city,” Chairman Howard Benton said.

Baker purchased the home after the former owner died and the owner’s children auctioned the estate, giving parts of the proceeds to local organizations.

Baker plans to make moderate changes to the interior of the home to make it suitable for its intended use, including adding a powder room on the first floor and taking out walls on the second floor to create larger bedrooms. She hopes to salvage a home next door, a property she also purchased at the auction, to create more guest suites.

“We believe this is going to be a cornerstone of the redevelopment of the community,” said Seth Ballard of Ballard & Mensua Architecture of Falls Church, which is working on the project. “Ms. Baker has made a large investment in the community of Suffolk. Already, it’s paid huge dividends.”

Also at the meeting, the planners approved of a proposed new church to be built in Chuckatuck, south of the Chuckatuck Square Apartments.

Celebration Christian Church, which has been meeting at the Suffolk Family YMCA for about 10 years, has outgrown that facility and is looking for a permanent home, Pastor Kirk Dice said. The location is roughly in the middle of the area from which the church draws its congregation, he told the Planning Commission.

“We’re very excited about being part of the Chuckatuck community,” he said, noting the church already is a Partner-in-Education with Oakland Elementary School.

The final project receiving approval was a borrow pit at the intersection of Everets and Audubon roads. Owner Richard Turner, a Smithfield resident, and co-owner Henry Morgan were present at the meeting.

Turner told the planning commissioners the operation is safe because it is on a straight stretch of road that allows for easy access for trucks.

“It’s had a good safety record,” he said. “Our of our main emphases is safety.”