Council discusses potential short-term rental regulations

Published 9:30 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

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During the LaGrange City Council work session on Tuesday, the city discussed a narrowed list of potential regulations for short-term rentals.

The city had previously considered a list of 23 potential regulations that were forwarded from the planning commission in June ranging from the number of permits allowed to quiet hours for the rentals. The planning board was unable to come to a consensus on a recommendation at the time, so the issue was tabled.

On Tuesday, City Planner Mark Kostial presented the council with five recommended rules to regulate short-term rentals, which are most commonly AirBnBs.

The first proposed regulation would require all short-term rentals to obtain a special use permit, which would in turn require a public hearing for each new AirBnB location.

“As part of the public hearing, if the neighbors or the residents in that given area were opposed to it, they would have a venue to go ahead and express their discontent,” Kostial said.

Kostial said it would also allow the council to impose additional conditions as part of the special use permit approval if needed.

The second rule would require that the owner/applicant post rental policies in each guest room and they would have to have a rental agreement readily available on premises. This would help law enforcement deal with issues should any materialize, Kostial said.

The third rule would require annual fire and building code inspections for safety.

The fourth rule would limit the types of housing where short-term vacation rentals are allowed to single-family detached homes.

“The logic behind that is short-term rentals have a tendency to create traffic problems, parking problems and other problems,” Kostial said. “If you have a two-family dwelling or a duplex, and only half of it is being rented out as a short-term rental, then it seems logical that it would create problems with a more significant magnitude for the other occupant of the duplex. The same goes for townhomes because they share a common wall.”

The rule would also forbid short-term rentals in apartments, but they typically already forbid subletting.

The final rule would require that short-term rental operators get a business license, pay their occupational tax and register them so the city knows where they are located.

Kostial said the five staff-recommended rules will need to go back to the planning commission to make a recommendation. A public hearing would also be needed before they are implemented.