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San Gabriel Valley Digest

South Pasadena : Bed-and-Breakfast on Hold

August 08, 1993

The City Council has postponed a decision on the city's first residential bed-and-breakfast establishment after a planning commissioner who voted for the new B&B ordinance was accused of a conflict of interest.

City Atty. Edward Lee recommended delaying the vote until officials can determine whether Commissioner Leslie Hoffelt voted for the bed-and-breakfast ordinance within 12 months of being employed as an architect by the proposed B&B's owners.

Hoffelt told the council there was a possibility she had worked for building owners Russell and Leonore Butcher in that period and would need time to check her records.

Lee said state Fair Political Practices Commission regulations prohibit officials from voting if they have received more than $250 from an interested party in the previous 12 months.

Russell and Leonore Butcher plan to turn three rooms on the third floor of their 105-year-old mansion at 201 Orange Grove Ave. into a bed-and-breakfast. The building is known as the Bissell House because Anna Bissell McKay, daughter of the vacuum cleaner magnate, once lived there.

South Pasadena Planning Commissioners approved the project May 24, saying it complied with the bed-and-breakfast ordinance approved by the council in April. But Larry and Margaret Rice, who live 300 yards from the Butchers' house, appealed the decision June 8.

Larry Rice made the allegations against Hoffelt before the council meeting Wednesday.

The neighborhood is divided over the proposal, and 150 residents packed the council chamber over the issue. Opponents claim a B & B would lower property values and bring crime and traffic to the neighborhood.

Guy Hutchinson, president of a condominium association across the street from the Bissell House, said the majority of his members support the Butchers. "I think property values will rise. This is an asset to the community."

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