Help us guide the city in instituting fair and reasonable regulations for short-term rentals that protect both neighbors and neighborhoods.
Find contact information for your city council member here: City Council Contact Information
Senator Berger represents parts of Guilford County and oversees state laws submitted on this (and any other) issue.
Email us to request a sign: I want a sign!
City Council Special Meeting on STR Ordinance
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023
Melvin Municipal Office Building
300 W. Washington Street
The STR Ordinance will be up for discussion at a special meeting on Tuesday, May 23rd at 5:30 PM in City Council Chambers.
This date was chosen when the STR Ordinance agenda item was postponed at the May 3rd City Council meeting because of time constraints. Mayor Vaughan allowed the interested parties attending the meeting to choose whether to discuss the issue as planned at the end of an unexpectedly long meeting or to have a new and separate meeting in a few weeks. The consensus among attendees at the meeting was to delay the issue and take the offer of a special meeting on May 23rd.
Please view the following information from the city:
The STR Ordinance was on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023 at 5:30 PM. Due to a large number of speakers on separate issues and a long debate on at least one other agenda item, the City Council moved the STR Ordinance agenda item to a later date.
STR members continue to meet with individual City Council members. This has resulted in some City Council members accepting and supporting proposed edits by the STR group to the city’s STR ordinance.
The City Council has also moved the agenda item of the STR proposal further out to a future meeting as more issues are discussed and addressed at the city staff level.
Several members of the STR committee attended the Town Hall meeting and addressed state representatives with their concerns. The main points made were that STRs negatively effect residential neighborhoods and that Raleigh should allow cities to regulate business that operate within their jurisdiction themselves without interference from the state.
A group of about 15 people met with Mayor Nancy Vaughn, and council members, Zach Matheny (District 3), and Sharon Hightower (District 1). The group met for about an hour and discussed in detail our concerns with the current plan. The mayor and council members were receptive to amending the proposal to include some changes while pushing back on others.
While these are a few positive steps, we still need to continue the dialogue and push of the other change to our other concerns. We hope to meet with more city council members within the week.
Over 100 people attended the Planning and Zoning Committee (PZC) meeting. Our voice was well represented with multiple speakers from seven neighborhoods protesting the proposed plan, however, support for STRs was significant too. Once commentary from the audience and discussion among the commissioners concluded, the panel voted unanimously to forward the recommended changes to the City Council without change.
We support fair and reasonable regulations for short-term rentals (STR) that protect both neighbors and neighborhoods. We are not opposed to owner-occupied STR, which refers to a situation where the homeowner rents out a portion of their own dwelling, but we are concerned about non-owner occupied STR, which is a commercial venture that involves renting out an entire property that is not the owner's primary residence. We simply believe that our homes and neighborhoods must be protected.
Owner occupancy: We believe that only owner-occupied STR should be allowed in residential neighborhoods, as this ensures that the homeowner has a vested interest in maintaining the property and the neighborhood. If the STR is not owner-occupied, it’s a business, not a home.
Density: We are concerned about the potential for multiple non-owner occupied STRs to be located in close proximity to one another in a neighborhood. This can negatively impact property values and deprive the neighborhood of its greatest resource: other neighbors who have a stake in making the neighborhood a happy place to live. We believe that there should be a limit on the density of STRs in our neighborhoods to ensure that they remain primarily residential.
Enforcement: We believe that the city should clarify the enforcement of violations and remedies so as not to place the burden of enforcement on neighbors. The proposed ordinance's policies for violators are too weak and are not enforceable. The burden for documenting and proving violations is put onto neighborhoods, and it will be nearly impossible to provide proof.
For example, in Asheville, NC, non-owner occupied STRs have been found to contribute to housing affordability challenges and have caused disruptions to the social fabric of residential neighborhoods (source: Citizen-Times). In Nashville, TN, non-owner occupied STRs have been linked to increased traffic and noise complaints, as well as decreased affordability of rental housing (source: The Tennessean).
We urge the city council to consider the negative impact that non-owner occupied STRs can have on our neighborhoods and to protect our homes and communities by enacting regulations that prioritize owner-occupied STRs and limit their density in residential areas.
We believe that this is the best way to ensure that our neighborhoods remain primarily residential and that residents are able to enjoy a high quality of life.
Research on the impact of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in the Southeast has found several negative effects on the communities. Here are a few key findings with citations:
Increase in housing prices and decreased affordability: Research conducted in Nashville, Tennessee found that the rise of short-term rentals had contributed to an increase in housing prices and a decrease in the availability of affordable housing (Duval, 2016).
Disruptive behavior and safety concerns: A study of short-term rentals in Savannah, Georgia found that residents were concerned about disruptive behavior and safety issues associated with these rentals (Barton, 2017).
Negative impact on neighborhood character: Research conducted in Asheville, North Carolina found that short-term rentals had a negative impact on the character of residential neighborhoods, as they brought in a constant stream of visitors and disrupted the sense of community among long-term residents (Sipe & Scott, 2017).
Uneven impact on neighboring properties: A study of short-term rentals in Charleston, South Carolina found that neighboring properties suffered from the impact of short-term rentals, as tourists were less invested in maintaining the property and respecting the neighborhood (Mueller, 2017).
Overall, the research suggests that short-term rentals have a negative impact on residential neighborhoods in the Southeast, with effects ranging from increased housing prices to disruptive behavior and safety concerns. These findings support the argument for limiting short-term rentals in residential areas.
Many towns and cities across the United States have begun to implement regulations and restrictions on short-term rentals, such as those listed in updated ordinances in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC. These regulations are in response to concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on the availability of affordable housing, the character of residential neighborhoods, and the quality of life for permanent residents.
In Asheville, NC, a homestay is defined as the use of land that can be permitted in a residentially-zoned area, provided that the homeowner lives in the house or apartment full-time, proposes to rent one to two bedrooms, and rents out these bedrooms for less than 30 days at a time. Rental of an entire dwelling unit for less than a month is called a short-term vacation rental (STVR) and is only permitted in the resort zoning district (City of Asheville, 2022).
Meanwhile, in Greenville, SC, homes in residential zoning districts can be leased for a minimum of 30 days. Vacation rentals can only operate with a permit, a license, and in allowed, non-residential zoning districts of the city. Bed & Breakfast/Inn owners must have an Accessory Use Permit for Home Occupation and their property must be owner-occupied (City of Greenville, 2022).
These regulations aim to balance the interests of property owners who want to earn extra income through short-term rentals and the need to preserve the character of residential neighborhoods and the availability of affordable housing. However, it is worth noting that the specifics of short-term rental regulations can vary widely from one city or town to another, and it is important to research the specific regulations in your area before engaging in short-term rental activities.
Sipe, N. G., & Scott, D. (2017). Short-term rentals and the sharing economy: The case of Asheville, North Carolina. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 37(4), 457-468.
City of Asheville. (2022). Homestay permit. Retrieved from https://www.ashevillenc.gov/service/apply-for-a-homestay-permit/
City of Greenville. (2022). Short-term rentals (Airbnb). Retrieved from https://www.greenvillesc.gov/1572/Short-Term-Rentals-Airbnb