An Ordinance to regulate Short-Term Rentals comes before Auburn City Council on Feb. 16, the culmination of three-years' work by a Mayor's Task Force and Planning Commission entailing multiple meetings and versions, all with public input. I applaud the efforts of those involved in writing this Ordinance, approved by Planning Commission on January 25, and urge City Council to also approve it, as written.

The Ordinance proposes two STR categories:   investor-owned properties which may rent short-term for up to 240 days/year, and "Homestays" which allow homeowners to vacate their own homes.  The number of guests is uncapped. The proposed Ordinance prohibits either type of STR in Neighborhood Conservation (NC) zones, but allows them in numerous other zones.  

Auburn's Zoning Code describes Neighborhood Conservation zones as "intended to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods" (304.02) and prohibits all commercial uses, such as hotels, in NC zones.  Short Term Rentals and Homestays are like hotels with no on-site management. Property owners who argue they should be able to do whatever they please with their property totally ignore the purpose of zoning regulations.

When we invested in our home decades ago in an NC zone, eight children lived within a two-block area. They safely roamed the neighborhood. Today, almost as many children live here, and their families also invested in the security of an established single-family neighborhood. We know our neighbors and look out for each other. 

Short-term rentals are frequently used for celebratory events, often involving alcohol, noise, traffic, pets unfamiliar with their surroundings, and more than five unrelated occupants (prohibited in NC zones). The intrusion of STRs and "Homestays" with revolving-door occupancy into single-family neighborhoods certainly does affect a neighborhood's "character." 

Please contact Auburn City Council at  coagbemail@auburnalabama.org and request passage of the Ordinance prohibiting Homestays and STRs in NC zones.

 

Linda Dean

Auburn resident

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