|By Pattie Detwiler | October 31, 2012 at 12:30 PM EDT|
Will Tampa Florida allow Bed and Breakfast Inns? Would allowing bed-and-breakfast inns boost Tampa tourism? A group of city business leaders thinks it might. They've begun exploring ways to open the city to this type of small-scale lodging.
"Not only can we remove impediments, but there might be other things we can do to encourage tourism," said Ron Christaldi, head of a group Tampa City Council seeking ways to turn the city's unique cultural assets into economic engines. The group's next campaign – rewriting the city code to allow for B&Bs – could have longer-lasting effects.
Christaldi said the B&B idea grew out of a visit by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce to Baltimore earlier this month. He joined Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin and Mayor Bob Buckhorn on the trip.
Among other things, the group saw that Baltimore was using B&B's to help expand its cultural tourism."The B&B community is the foundation, the bedrock of that," Christaldi said.
Christaldi hopes Tampa will take a lesson from Baltimore and other cities that have opened their neighborhoods to B&Bs, which are virtually nonexistent in Tampa.
B&B advocates are up against an outdated city code that doesn't even consider B&Bs an option for overnight stays. The fact that B&Bs traditionally operate in residential areas further complicates matters.
"It's like we drive cars, but the code is for horses," said Mike Arodak, who has two buildings he operates like B&Bs. City code enforcement officials have ticketed him at least once for lacking enough parking at one of them.
The same is true for Bruce Holland, who runs Gram's Place in the Tampa Heights neighborhood.
Gram's Place bills itself as a hostel – a designation that brings in lots of young foreign travelers. The sign facing Ola Street describes Gram's Place as a bed-and-breakfast. City officials consider it a rooming house.
Excerpts from Tampa Tribune Article written By KEVIN WIATROWSKI