PORTLAND – The man who wants to start a hostel in Portland says the city needs to loosen its new rules to allow him to run a profitable operation.

Peter Slayback said the city’s rules are too tight on the square footage per guest and the number of bathrooms. He said he hopes to convert a family-owned building to a hostel with space for 40 guests, but the city’s rules may not make that financially feasible.

Slayback followed the city’s development of the rules for hostels as it moved through a City Council committee. When it came up for a final vote on June 6, Slayback handed over a handful of amendments that had been suggested by an architect with experience designing a hostel in Vermont.

Slayback said he wants the square footage per person in bedrooms cut from 50 to about 30, and the number of bathrooms per guest cut from one for every five people to one for every 10.

The first change would allow him to accommodate 40 guests, he said, while the second would cut the number of bathrooms he needs from eight to four.

Councilor David Marshall, who sponsored the original rules change, said he’s sympathetic to Slayback’s concerns but he wants him to see if he can make a hostel work before the council takes up amendments.

Marshall said the change in rules to allow hostels took a year to work though the city Planning Board, a council committee and then the council.

By the time it was up for a final vote, he said, “there really wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm to amend it.”

Slayback said he has a background in the hospitality industry in Denver and moved to Portland last year to be closer to his family.

He said he is “moving forward cautiously” with his plan and has an architect working on cost estimates.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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