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City Council Questions Property Owner

Pineapple Inn

The owner of the Pineapple Inn did not come away with support from the Macomb City Council in his effort to change the bed and breakfast into a lodging house.

Gil Johnson, who lives in Peoria, is seeking a special use permit for the change. The council has given the ordinance its first reading. It's scheduled to give the ordinance a second reading at next week's meeting.

At this week's committee of the whole meeting, aldermen voted to recommend denial of the permit on a voice vote. The vote came after fifth-ward alderman Dave Dorsett questioned Johnson.

Dorsett grilled Johnson over whether he was current with the hotel-motel tax filings. Johnson replied he had sent the filing for the last quarter.

Dorsett replied, “That is not what is called for, exactly.”

He pressed Johnson to see if the operation meets city ordinances. Johnson replied, “I don't know how to answer that.”

He also asked Johnson if the city's community development office had contacted him, several times. Johnson replied he was working with the office to meet its concerns.

Fourth-ward Alderman Tom Koch asked Johnson when he discovered he needed a special use permit to operate the business for lodging. Johnson replied he learned of the need between 60 and 90 days ago.

Koch said, “It seems to me that we have things kind of out of order here. The permit should have been obtained before you started using it as a lodging.”

Two residents spoke against the permit. Alan Nemec said operations without local owners tend to deteriorate over time. He called the Pineapple Inn a “historic home in Macomb.” and a ”beautiful gem.”

Dale Adkins said a change of the utilization is ”not in keeping with the character of the house.”
The city's planning commission voted unanimously to deny the permit at a public hearing March 14th.