The Gothenburg City Council held a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 7, to discuss recommended revisions to city regulations regarding bed and breakfast properties. City Administrator Bruce Clymer explained that he had met with the city’s planning and zoning board to talk about the current regulations, and whether or not those need to be changed.

“With the increase of rentals through sites like Airbnb, the P&Z board talked about changing the current regulation requiring a special use permit for those properties to more of a business license,” Clymer explained. “Once approved, this would be an annual automatic license renewal similar to a liquor license.”

The statutes would also require that all bed and breakfast rentals in the city comply with state and federal regulations, including any applicable lodging and sales taxes. According to current regulations bed and breakfast rentals can be allowed in any zone in the city.

No one from the community attended the public hearing. After some discussion on the issue, the council directed the city attorney to draft a city ordinance outlining the revision from a special use permit to a license.

Councilman Jeff Kennedy opened discussion on snow removal, first commending the city crew for their hard work in taking care of the streets during the recent storm. However, he did express concern about city residents piling snow from their sidewalks and driveways into the street.

“We went around town and moved several piles, but there was a lot more snow this time,” said Shane Gruber, city services director. “If people would just push it up on the curb instead of leaving it in front of somebody else’s house that would be good.”

Kennedy suggested the city consider an ordinance similar to the one Cozad has in place; however, not everyone was in agreement with that. “That is something we will need to discuss at a different time,” said Mayor Joyce Hudson.

Trees were also an item on the Jan. 7 agenda, with the council giving approval for application of an Emerald Ash Borer grant through the National Arbor Day Foundation. This grant would provide up to 80 new trees for the community.

Administrator Clymer also informed the council that he has received notification that the city has been allocated funds from the Mary Ann Ostergard trust for the commemorative tree program. The council approved acceptance of those funds.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.536.6499