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The Lewiston Village Board tonight will address the subject of bed-and-breakfast ownership.

The board will discuss setting a public hearing on changing a law that says owners of bed-and-breakfasts in residential areas must live in the home. The change being considered would allow an agent of the owner to live in the property.

"The village is looking to encourage more bed-and-breakfasts," said village Clerk Anne Welch.

"People are looking for investments. Right now, there is only one bed-and-breakfast on Center Street, and the Riverside Inn and Portage House are always packed with fishermen."

Welch said that the law had already been changed in Youngstown and that the village is looking at this law as it considers a change.

The board meeting is set for 7 p.m. in Village Hall.

Mary Louise DeMarchi, co-owner of a bed-and-breakfast on Center Street in the village, said her experience is that most bed-and-breakfasts are owner-operated.

"A private owner takes better care of the property; plus there's not a lot of money left over after expenses," DeMarchi said. "It's a lot of work, and we put in long hours."

"It's a touchy subject," she said. "People don't want to live next door to a business. They have nice homes."

The issue of allowing bed-and-breakfasts has come up many times in the Village of Lewiston, and each time residents have come out to voice protests.

A house that was converted by W. Kirk Hastings into a six-room bed-and-breakfast at 427 Plain St. was denied a special-use permit in the mid-1990s because he did not live on the premises. He continued to hold the mortgage when he sold it a few years later to Colleen Jackson, who was then granted the permit in 1997.

The house is up for sale again. It sits in the village's historic district, two doors down from Artpark at the Church.

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