After running a Long Island inn for more than a decade, a local couple plans to launch their next hospitality venture in Westport.

Coke Anne Wilcox last week presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission a preliminary proposal to open a bed-and-breakfast establishment in a home that she and her husband, Jarvis Wilcox, own at 25 Turkey Hill Road South.

Because zoning regulations currently do not permit bed-and-breakfasts in residential zones, the Wilcoxes' plan would require a text amendment. Wilcox indicated that she plans to draft a proposed regulation to submit to the P&Z.

The Wilcoxes have owned the antique home on Turkey Hill Road South since 1986 and have maintained it as a rental property. But a "dismal" real estate market, Wilcox said, contributed to her and her husband's decision to seek to convert the approximately 3,000-square-foot house into a bed-and-breakfast.

"Allowing a bed-and-breakfast will address the real estate crisis and address unemployment issues and address the preservation of our historical homes around town," Wilcox said Thursday.

Two to four employees, including an on-site manager, would staff a three-room bed-and-breakfast at the house, Wilcox said.

Coke Anne and Jarvis Wilcox live on Clapboard Hill Road, about a mile from 25 Turkey Hill Road South. The oldest parts of the Turkey Hill house date back to 1813, according to the Wilcoxes.

The Wilcoxes owned the Maidstone Arms in East Hampton, N.Y., from 1992 to 2008. The Greek Revival-style inn was renamed c/o The Maidstone following its acquisition by Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg.

P&Z commissioners responded enthusiastically to Wilcox's plan.

"I think it's a great concept," said Al Gratrix.

While indicating their support for Wilcox to move ahead with drafting a text amendment, commissioners also recommended that she consult with neighbors of 25 Turkey Hill Road South, as well as town bodies such as the Westport Weston Health District, the Fire Department and the Historic District Commission.

A bed-and-breakfast at 25 Turkey Hill Road South would join a small roster of lodging establishments in Westport. The 117-room Westport Inn on Post Road East is the town's main hotel. Westport's other hotel, the 12-room Inn at Longshore, is located at Longshore Club Park. A third establishment, the boutique Inn at National Hall, operated on the west bank of the Saugatuck River in downtown Westport from 1993 until its closing in March 2010. National Hall has stood vacant since the hotel shuttered.

If the P&Z were to approve a text amendment submitted by Wilcox, she would also have to secure the panel's approval for a site plan for the bed-and-breakfast. The new establishment likely would also require P&Z backing for a special permit, according to Planning and Zoning Director Larry Bradley.

While they did not disclose a target date for opening the bed-and-breakfast, Coke Anne Wilcox told the Westport News after Thursday's meeting that she and her husband would like to start the new establishment "as soon as possible."