by Valerie Verkamp
As with marriage, a child, or a new job, the first year for a business often offers unique challenges that were not foreseen.
Apparently that rang true to Janet Byers, owner of the Romantic Getaway Today Inn in Parkville.
Since opening January 2012, she has been criticized by neighbors who vehemently spoke out against the “adult-themed” B&B, struggled with city officials for the privilege to sell alcohol, and dealt with a sluggish economy. At the same time, Byers knew city officials were establishing an ordinance that may label her business a “sexual encounter establishment” provided the B&B advertised as a “place for persons to engage in specified sexual activities.”
Following what only could be described as a roller-coaster year, Byers opted against applying her one year lease payment to the purchase of the one hundred ten year old property located at 702 East Street in Parkville.
Her business is now closed.
Today the five bedroom, six full bath property is for sale. According to the Reece & Nichols website, the asking price is $310,000.
County records list the owners of the property as Rhonda J. Weimer and Ellen C. Underkoffter.
Since the time the business venture came to an end in recent weeks, Parkville Mayor Jim Brooks said he hasn't heard any comments from the public one way or the other.
When asked whether he felt the city's recently adopted adult business ordinance affected Byers’ decision to stay in business, Brooks said he doesn't believe so.
“I don't think the ordinance had anything to do with it, frankly,” said Brooks. “She was operating a bed and breakfast. I think her website planted the seed that it was perhaps something more than a normal bed and breakfast, but we never had any evidence of that,” the mayor added.
“The ordinance simply reinforced true adult business activities and frankly didn't apply to her. We didn't consider her an adult business,” he remarked.
“Had she continued to sell adult goods retail out of the site, that would have been an issue not necessarily from an adult business standpoint, but from the fact it would have been retail sales and retail sails would not be allowed in that zoning district.”
Brooks said the property is fitting for a “typical” bed and breakfast. He said he hopes to see the property thrive like it has in the past.
Repeated attempts to reach Byers for comment this week were unsuccessful.
Last May in an article after a neighbor had complained to city leaders about her business, Byers told The Landmark:
“I am not trying to run anything sleazy. I am a very good businesswoman. I figure, if I was going to run something sleazy I would not do it in Parkville…I would have gone somewhere that would have allowed for that niche. But this is nothing but a simple bed and breakfast that prefers adult couples instead of families.”
Byers said her children sometimes accompany her to the bed and breakfast, but she tries to keep them away since it is indeed a romantic place.
“It's not a scene that I am embarrassed about them seeing. I don't see any harm in my children seeing couples,” said Byers. “What they do behind their closed door I am not aware of. I could care less what they do behind the closed door, because it is not loud, it is not noisy, and it is not causing a problem for anyone.”
Byers described the bed and breakfast as “a relaxing place where couples can find romance.”
That Landmark article from May can be found at plattecountylandmark.com/Article11592.htm