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City of Hermann files lawsuit against bed and breakfast over noise

The city filed a petition for injunction against Captain Wohlt Inn owners Kent and Brant Wilkins. (KRCG)

In a petition filed May 2 in the Gasconade County Court, the City of Hermann cited "numerous incidents" in which activities taking place at the Captain Wohlt Inn violated zone restrictions for a property classified as "residential" or R2.

Owner Brant Wilkins said they enjoy utilizing the outdoor space on their property and hosting guests for live music, activities the city said are only allowed on commercial or C1 properties.

"We predate zoning and we think that reason alone makes this suit frivolous," Wilkins said.

"We have the right to do this; I don't feel the government has the right to tell me where to go."

The city looked to install a noise and light ordinance aimed at quieting outdoor activities on residential streets, but was pulled after strong opposition to the bill.

The lawsuit also states the B&B broke Hermann's municipal code for supplying food service for compensation to people not staying as overnight guests.

In the petition, the state wrote the defendants, Brant and Kent Wilkins, hosted events that had:

"amplified live and recorded music playing into the late night hours, sometimes there were dozens of people in attendance who were loud and behaving in a manner consistent with a party atmosphere; the crowds were large enough that the Defendants brought in porta-potties; there was food and drink served to people who were not 'overnight guests' and which were not 'morning meals'; there were fire pits burning and bright light on until the early morning hours - sometimes 24 hours a day, and various other entertainment venue-type activities, all of which occurred outdoors in close proximity to neighboring properties."

Hermann's mayor Robert Koerder owns a neighboring property one street over from Wilkin's bed and breakfast.

He said Koerder was using his power for the wrong reasons .

"I think certainly we've proven there's a personal vendetta with the mayor. At the board of aldermen meeting he said he's just trying to get sleep, that's not what he's supposed to use his power for."

Wilkins filed an application to change his property from residential to commercial, but withdrew it back in January. The B&B owner said aldermen and the mayor told him they would never allow it.

"We're kind of glad to get this [lawsuit]," said Wilkins.

"The worst thing in a business is not knowing. Even should we lose which I don't think we will, at least we can start moving forward from there."

KRCG 13 reached out to the mayor but were told the city would not do an interview to talk about an active lawsuit.

Koerder did mention over the phone the city expects a fair hearing and a fair verdict.

The hearing is set for 11 a.m Thursday, June 8, in Division 2 of Gasconade County Circuit Court.

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