Letter to the Editor

Chairman’s letter is the final straw

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Dear Editor,

This past week, much to my vexation and irritation, I, along with other B & B owners within the residential areas of the city, received a letter from Eureka Springs Planning Commission Chairman, Ann Tandy-Sallee. The letter (dated March 15, 2019) instructed us (the aforementioned owners) to complete an attached affidavit, certifying that we live on the properties of our respective B &Bs, that we have the affidavit notarized, and that it be returned to her attention by a specific date. While this is not an arduous task, it is one that I am refusing to do.  Let me explain why …

When I purchased Hidden Springs Bed and Breakfast, almost seven years ago, I was told by several business owners that this city is hostile toward innkeepers and business proprietors generally. I was skeptical of this report, foolishly thinking that this simply could not be true. One innkeeper in particular, noted that the city has, for many years, been especially antagonistic toward B & B owners/operators. Here, too, I was sure that this was blatantly false. Events of the past years, however, have proven them to be correct. During that time, I have observed the ways in which this city haphazardly enforces code, randomly targets code violators, and oddly … also targets business owners who are trying to do little more than succeed in their ventures, while trying to better Eureka Springs.  In you do not believe me, I encourage you to examine past issues of your local newspapers.  Or, even better … read the minutes of past city council meetings, planning committee meetings, as well as those of the historic district commission. A perusal of these documents will demonstrate, I believe, a pattern of governmental leadership that is unfriendly and argumentative toward business owners. 

And so…, for me, the letter from Tandy-Sallee was the infamous “straw that broke the camel’s back.”  I will not sign this letter. Additionally, there are no stipulations of my conditional use permits that require that I do so. On top of this, Tandy-Sallee is not empowered to enforce anything. In fact, nor is the planning commission. And therefore, she has no authority to send such a request or mandate. Let the city know, therefore, that I stand well prepared to challenge them in court.  They should, also therefore, cease and desist this harassment of local B & B owners.

— John Speed, PhD

Owner/Innkeeper

Hidden Springs Bed and Breakfast