Permitting snafu leaves B&B owners in limbo

AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you want to make some renovations to your home, or perhaps add on to your business, you know how complicated it can be to get the right building permits approved from the City of Austin. For the past few months, owners of bed and breakfast in central Austin have been fighting to continue a project, stalled by incorrect permitting.

Adams House Bed and Breakfast is nestled in historic Hyde Park.

“It’s been a bed anD breakfast for 16 years,” said owner Eric Hughes. “My wife Liz and I took it over from her mother about four years ago.”

The couple wanted to expand on their property. They decided to build on in the back.

“We applied for a permit. After about nine months we were granted a permit. We started construction on that property in late November of 2013, and in early January the permit was pulled,” Eric said.

Four months later, it’s still unfinished business.

The approximately 900 sqaure-foot add-on in the back is just the building frame. Only some windows have been installed. Eric and Liz say the addition is for them to have a new space to live.

Bed and breakfast owners in Austin must live onsite. City officials say that makes permitting for those properties complicated. Planning Department manager Jerry Rusthoven says their staff incorrectly issued the Adams House a residential permit and not a commercial site plan. He says the permit approved a building larger than what code allows.

“We’re very sorry that the error occurred,” Rusthoven said. “When you produce as much permits as we do, every once in a while, a mistake will be made, and we need to change it. We need to fix it.”

Eric said he and his wife are confident it will work out.

“I think they want to do the right thing, but i think someone is reluctant to step up and take responsibility,” he said.

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