A lot of people have fretted over Auburn’s proposed short-term rental (the “STR”) ordinance. Thus far, many people, particularly the majority of Auburn’s elected officials, have viewed the proposed ordinance as simply a means for bringing a noncompliant use into compliance, as a supplemental income generating mechanism for a small segment of the population, or as an additional revenue generating mechanism for the city. 

It is so much more than that!

Most parents want to move into and live in a family oriented neighborhood (e.g., NC, DDH, LDD, LLRD). Parents want neighborhoods where there is every reason to believe their children will be safe from harm and where children are allowed to ride their bicycles on local streets or play spotlight in the evening hours with other children in their neighborhood. 

And then, there are the elderly, many of whom live alone. They want the comfort of knowing their neighbors, spending time with them and, when the hour comes wherein they need assistance, knowing there will be somebody nearby to lend a helping hand. 

These are the joys and stresses of everyday people living and working in Auburn’s neighborhoods. People need social contact, and they do best in familiar surroundings. The proposed STR ordinance only adds to the stresses as so many issues have yet to be addressed.

A current proposal would allow an unlimited number of overnight guests. Reasonable people would naturally limit the number of guests based on the number of bedrooms (e.g., two/bedroom). To make matters worse, there are no overflow parking requirements. Subdivisions are only required to have two (2) per lot. 

This begs the questions of safety of the neighborhood children. In most older neighborhoods without sidewalks where streets are narrow, on-street parking is prohibited, but seldom enforced. This begs the question of emergency vehicle access. 

The proposal allows 90 overnight stays as long as the owner is not present. This begs the question as to who picks up the overflow garbage left at curbside and not scheduled for pick up for two or three days. And it does not address the matter if the premises may be rented when the owner is present. 

Life affords us enough stresses without having to deal with STRs, let alone with an ordinance with so many shortcomings. Let’s start by making a commitment to preserve the integrity of our family oriented neighborhoods (e.g., NC, DDH, LDD, and LLRD).

Bruno Ulrich

Auburn resident


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