Letter to the Editor graphic

The January 27, 2022 Auburn Villager article on Councilman Steven Dixon’s lawsuit against the City of Auburn states that Auburn’s short-term rentals ordinance “permits STRs in pretty much every other zone” except NC. Fact: The ordinance prohibits short-term rentals in NC (Neighborhood Conservation), DDH (Development District Housing), LLD  (Limited Development District), and LLRD (Large Lot Residential District) — many acres of single-family residential properties in which people invested their nest eggs to quietly raise their families. 

The STR ordinance was written to comply with the City’s zoning ordinance which states in Article III, “The NC District is intended to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods.” People purchase homes with the expectation that the “character” will be preserved, safeguarding their investments. When houses in single-family neighborhoods operate as house-hotels with revolving door occupancy, the safety and tranquility of the neighborhood is disrupted.

Auburn’s zoning ordinances, like those of other cities, PROTECT property owners by identifying what use(s) are appropriate in specific areas. Auburn’s zoning code states (Article IV, Section 400) that the purpose of zoning regulations is to ensure “against detrimental impacts on the environment, neighboring properties, and the public interest.”  

The City’s “Permitted Uses” Table (Article IV, Table 4-1) clearly shows that the districts in which STRs are prohibited are those that prohibit most commercial uses. My neighbor can’t run a mini-mart out of his garage, for which I am thankful, and I can’t set up a boarding house just to make a little extra money; such uses are prohibited in our zone. If we wish to go into those types of businesses, there are plenty of zones where they are legal. 

Likewise, people wishing to engage in the short-term-rental business may establish them in permitted zones. The sweeping statement that STRs are permitted in “pretty much every other zone” is misleading.

Linda Dean

Auburn resident

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