The Auburn Planning Commission will hold a virtual public meeting on Monday in the next step toward pushing through long-overdue short-term rental regulations in the city.
The issue of how to regulate short-term rentals has been a hot-button topic for the last few years, with Mayor Anders creating a task force to explore the city's options and the Planning Commission working for over two years on crafting new regulations.
The Commission's stance on how to regulate short-term rentals changed sharply over the course of the last year. Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-March, the Commission seemed set to follow former Planning Director Forrest Cotten's recommendation that the city take an incremental approach to regulation by largely prohibiting short-term rentals throughout the city, citing the planning truism that it's easier to expand allowances in the future than to take something permitted away, as well as the benefit of allowing planning staff to "ease into this thing as well" from a workload perspective.
Pre-pandemic, the Planning Commission was leaning toward restricting short-term rentals to the Urban Core, Urban Neighborhood districts, and the city's four Corridor Redevelopment districts.
Taking a more permissive approach gained traction during a work session in October that did not include the voice of long-time Commissioner Warren McCord, one of the strong proponents of more restrictive regulations. In the interim between the spring and October work session, Wendy Birmingham was appointed to the Commission. She advocated for a more permissive approach to regulation, adding another voice to the Commission supporting short-term rentals in more districts.
The proposed recommendations coming out of the October work session expanded the use to Redevelopment District, Medium Density Residential District, Neighborhood Redevelopment District east of North Donahue, Rural District and Comprehensive Development District.
The meeting will be held via Zoom at 5 p.m. on Monday. Those interested in voicing their opinion on the topic can register at https://www.auburnalabama.org/coronavirus/meeting-updates/.
The proposed short-term rental regulations can be viewed here.