Short-term rentals

Short-term non-primary rentals and homestays would be permitted in the areas highlighted in green on the map above. The red dots represent current short-term rentals outside of the proposed area, while the orange dots represent those that would be permitted under proposed regulations

At its virtual meeting on Tuesday, the Auburn City Council will take its first stab at passing regulations for short-term rentals in the city. 

The resolution under consideration, which was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on a 7-2 vote last month, has been years in the making, with a working group of city staff starting the discussion of the topic in the fall of 2017. 

Since then, the city has undertaken a number of efforts, including the creation of a Short-term Rental Task Force that held three public work sessions in 2019 before landing on a list of recommendations that October. The Planning Commission also held multiple work sessions over the past year, with the last coming in October.

Late last month, the Planning Commission landed on a two-tiered approach to regulating short-term rentals in Auburn — classifying the use as either a short-term non-primary rental or as a homestay. 

Under the current proposed regulations, both uses would be permitted in the same zones — those that allow more than two unrelated people to live under the same roof. The zones that allow up to five unrelated occupants where STNPRs and homestays would be permitted include the Urban Core, Urban Neighborhoods East, West and South; Comprehensive Development District; Redevelopment District; Medium Density Residential District; Rural District; Corridor Redevelopment Districts East, Suburban, Urban and West (east of North Donahue Drive); and Neighborhood Redevelopment District east of North Donahue. 

Neither STNPRs or homestays would be permitted in Neighborhood Conservation, Development District Housing; Limited Development District; or Large Lot Residential District. 

Those parcels that are split-zoned would fall under the zone with the more restrictive regulations on short-term rentals. 

Homestays would require a home occupation license and the home must be the owner's permanent residence for a minimum of 180 days per calendar year. There would be no limit on the number of rental days per year, and homestays would be limited to six overnight guests per day, a limitation that the Planning Commission suggested be removed. At a City Council work session on Monday, some council members indicated they were also against the provision. 

STNPRs would require a yearly zoning certificate but would not have to be the permanent residence of the owner. Homeowner presence at the time of the rental would not be required. STNPRs would be limited to 240 rental days a year, although the need for that provision was also questioned during Monday's work session. 

At the Planning Commission meeting last month and during the Citizens' Open Forum portion of the last Council meeting, multiple people spoke in support of allowing homestays in traditional single-family neighborhoods, like NC and DDH. 

According to a slide shown at Monday's work session, 142 current short-term rentals would fall outside of the proposed zones, while 107 would fall within and be permitted.

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