The law and public safety committee approved two items Tuesday, including a draft plan for regulating short term rentals.
The discussion about short-term rentals started in late 2014 when a complaint arose about a person renting out space in a zoning area where the practice was not allowed.
After the item was referred to the law and public safety committee, the discussion centered on Airbnb, which pairs travelers with those willing to host them, and the need to regulate the practice through zoning conditions.
On Tuesday, planning and zoning administrator Travis Crane made a presentation to city councilors Baldwin, Maiorano, and Odom, and to all citizens present. The presentation focused on two options for regulating short term rentals. The first option was a “use by right” designation and the other option used a special use permit. For both options, staff recommended defining “short term rental,” establishing business practices that included registration, and requiring the host to pay taxes.
Citizens attending the meeting advocated for the first option, saying that the requirements to obtain a special use permit would be a financial hardship and that it would take up more time from government employees.
“We want people there who are going to take care of the neighborhood,” Councilor Odom, who would leave before the final vote to attend another meeting, said. “That’s my perspective.”
Councilors Baldwin and Maiorano elected to go with the “use by right” option, designating that two bedrooms would be the maximum allowable space to rent in residential districts.
“It is evolving,” Councilor Maiorano said of the discussion, “and we need to make sure we don’t stymie it, but also to make sure it’s not running unchecked.”
Recombination Map to Pave Way for Church Expansion
The drawing of a recombination map for set of properties in northwest Raleigh was approved. The Providence Baptist Church had advocated for the recombination map as they needed it to purchase a property to expand the church.
The issue had been debated in a January law and public safety meeting when lawyer Philip Isley had told councilors that the reason the church couldn’t simply buy the land was because a building owned by one of the Dunn sisters was sitting on a property line. After the original map had been recorded, a swap deed wasn’t done and with city regulations not correctly in place to correct this, the problem then developed.
Because the Dunn sister wasn’t willing to sell her land that had the building on it, the church wasn’t able to purchase the adjoining property and therefore couldn’t commence with expanding the church premises.
While city attorney Thomas McCormick said this was a private real estate deal that the city had no cause to get involved in, Councilor Maiorano said that the city needed to take responsibility as it had drawn the incorrect property line in the first place.
He said he viewed the case as “unique” and “not precedent-setting.” He advocated for a “common-sense solution” and made a motion to direct staff to work on the recombination map.
It was approved unanimously.