A potentially controversial proposal for Fayetteville to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb will be discussed at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Last month, Councilman Johnny Dawkins requested that the council consider creating a short-term rental licensing and fee structure. Dawkins said there have been recent cases in which short-term rentals in Fayetteville have been used for drug parties.
The issue has been discussed by the council before but was opposed by some people in the short-term rental business, and the proposal went nowhere.
But the city staff has brought back a list of possible options for the council to consider at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting.
The issue may be complicated by the fact that the N.C. General Assembly may consider a bill preempting cities’ authority to regulate short-term rentals, says the staff report, prepared by Senior Planner David Nash and Johnathan Rosales, a local government management fellow.
“When the information was presented to City Council in June 2019, it was noted that legislation was then expected to preempt a city’s authority to regulate short-term rentals,” the report says.
A bill was introduced but then it was dropped.
“In the future, a similar proposal could resurface,” the report says.
According to a legislative update from the University of North Carolina School of Government, short-term rentals are subject to the Vacation Rental Act and periodic inspection statutes.
“This change essentially eliminates the ability of local governments to regulate short-term rentals using their housing code enforcement authority,” the staff report says. “However, absent additional legislation on this issue, the authors believe that local governments retain their ability to regulate short-term rentals using their zoning authority.”
The report says more than 150 total short-term rentals were available in Fayetteville in the first six months of 2019. The highest number was in February, when 191 were available.
Fayetteville currently has nothing specific in its code regarding short-term rentals. The city’s Code Enforcement Division responds to complaints as they are received.
“As far as the nature of the complaints, Code Enforcement explains that they are usually about noise, crowds, parties, parking, garage and unfamiliar people in the neighborhood,” the report says.
There are two types of short-term rentals in Fayetteville.
One involves a homeowner who rents out individual rooms in the residence for overnight lodging, which is sometimes referred to as “home sharing” or “home-stay.”
The second involves an owner or host renting out an entire house, and those are mainly used as vacation rentals.
The city staff has laid out regulation options for the council to consider that include regulating one or both of these types of rentals.
The most restrictive proposal would regulate both types of rentals and require that:
• Whole-house, short-term rentals would be allowed only in business districts where hotels or motels are allowed.
• Individual-room, short-term rentals would be only allowed in residential districts, except for manufactured housing districts.
• Owners of both properties would have to register with the city and comply with state and local laws.
• The maximum length of stay would be 30 days for each type of rental.
• Guests could rent as many as three rooms in an individual-room rental.
• Guest rooms could not have their own kitchens in an individual-room rental.
The staff is recommending that the council first determine if regulation is an issue the council wants to address “or allow continual market factors to sort this issue because of the challenges of understanding how the short-term rental market operates and not fully knowing the variety of interests.”
Mayor Mitch Colvin said he questions whether the city needs to get into regulatng short-term rentals at this time.
“I don‘t think it is problematic in the community,” Colvin said. “But we want to learn more about it.”
The council on Monday night is also scheduled to discuss recommendations of the Stormwater Advisory Board and schedule a public hearing on an assessment that will charge 273 homeowners in the Cliffdale Estates area for hooking up to city sewer service.
Staff writer John Henderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910-486-3596.