Summit County grants permit for a bed-and-breakfast at former Colby School
Approval comes after 3rd District Court overturned previous denial
The owners of the former Colby School have received a permit from Summit County to open a bed-and-breakfast, which, barring an appeal, ends a multiyear, multi–lawsuit fight regarding the Victorian-style mansion that has been empty for years.
The site has been used as a hotel and a school in the past, but the county has recently and repeatedly denied the owners’ applications for commercial uses, and the main building has been empty since 2008, according to a report from county staffers.
The 5-acre site is across S.R. 224 from the Canyons Village base area and includes three outbuildings and the Victorian mansion.
The commission on Tuesday granted a conditional-use permit to property owner Hoffvest, LLC, to use the estate as an eight-room bed-and-breakfast inn with an additional caretaker unit.
There is a 10-day window for affected parties to file an appeal, which neighbors did in 2017 after the commission granted a permit for a similar project. It is unclear whether neighbors will do so once again.
Planning commissioners implemented two additional conditions on the permit to address concerns about noise and special events. Both conditions require the potential bed-and-breakfast to comply with specific parts of the county code, including by applying for special-event permits.
Neighbors in the surrounding residential areas have consistently opposed the site being used as a hotel or event center, citing traffic, parking and noise concerns. They have expressed specific wariness with the site hosting special events like weddings.
Planning commissioners did not set a limit to the number of events the bed-and-breakfast can hold.
If the permit survives the 10-day appeal window, it is uncertain whether the current owners will open a bed-and-breakfast there. The property is listed for sale, with the owners asking $5.5 million.
Brooke Hontz, a representative of the owners, said they were unsure whether they would continue to seek to sell the property or attempt to open a bed-and-breakfast.
“They don’t know yet,” she said.
John Travis, the property’s listing agent, has previously said that any sale was expected to be contingent on the future owners’ ability to secure a permit from Summit County. That issue appears to be settled, barring a successful appeal.
If the site becomes a bed-and-breakfast, it would be reverting to a status it held 30 years ago.
The county approved the Victorian-style home to be used as a small hotel in 1985, which was called the Snowed Inn. The estate then housed a school from 2001 to 2008, and is still referred to as the Colby School property.
Hoffvest purchased it in 2014 and months later applied for a permit for a 55-room hotel and cabin complex with a 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the site and neighboring property.
The owners have winnowed and redesigned their plans in the intervening six years, ultimately applying in late 2019 for the eight-room bed-and-breakfast concept.
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Summit County’s sales taxes are beating 2019 levels, with an estimated additional $1.2 million in revenue. Councilors debated using the money to hire more employees.