Some Airbnb operators in Athens say they are eagerly awaiting legislation that will regulate the use of short-term rentals in Athens.
Athens City Council is currently deliberating on a proposal to regulate short-term rentals, completing a hearing on Monday and conducting a first reading of the group of ordinances at the final meeting of the body.
The draft ordinances establish requirements for short-term rentals. People living in houses anywhere in the city could be granted a permit allowing them to house paying guests for less than 30 days. Non-resident owners cannot have more than three adult renters, plus related children, staying less than 30 days. In addition, non-resident homes must either be located on residential land that borders an R-2 or R-3 or Zone B, or they must face East State Street, Carpenter Street, Lancaster Street or Columbus. Road.
Most of the residential areas in Athens are zoned R-1, the lower density residential area. However, parts of Uptown, the Ohio University campus, and much of the student housing surrounding Mill Street are zoned R-3, allowing for denser housing. The R-2 zones in Athens include portions of West State Street and West Washington Street, as well as a small area on the south side of Richland Avenue.
Supporting council members previously said the short-term rentals ordinance would regulate the presence of short-term rentals, supplement low-income households and generate income for the city through the hotel tax.
There are currently a number of short-term rentals listed on popular sites like Airbnb – 17 according to The Athens NEWS tally. The majority of Airbnb rental properties currently listed appear to be owned and operated by area residents, based on the profiles of property advertisers.
Diane McVey, a resident of Athens, owns and operates two short term rentals in Athens, one on Franklin Avenue and the other on Grovesnor Street. She said she thought the pending legislation “is a pretty good thing.”
“Actually, I think it’s a pretty good thing that they’ve sorted out – it’s a very complicated issue with some people who are very convinced that they don’t allow (short term rentals) in Athens,” he said. McVey said.
She said she believes the compromise that took place during the drafting process reflects residents’ concerns while balancing the rights of owners to use their property as they see fit.
“I think it’s harder for young people to afford houses these days – that’s what we want in Athens,” said McVey. “To have more owners, to have more people buying houses and living there than student tenants. “
Mitch Endick, owner of Athens Furniture on E. State Street and operator of two short-term rentals in Athens (and two outside the city limits), said it was good for the city council to act to regulate the ‘industry.
“Some oversight is better than no oversight – guaranteed – so I think they’re doing a good job,” Endick said.
Endick also said it was “inappropriate” for Airbnbs to enter R-1 (lowest density) neighborhoods except in certain areas such as along E. State Street.
Tyler Schloss, co-owner of White’s Mill, operates part of the historic property as an Airbnb which offers accommodation for eight people. Schloss has stated that the property is in a commercial area, so it will not be subject to the standards applicable to R-1 properties.
He said his company has had positive guest experiences – without any “party house” guests – saying Airbnb’s company and veterinary guests.
Regarding the limits on the maximum number of guests under the new ordinance, Schloss said the company could possibly apply for some sort of waiver.
Ally Rapp Lee, real estate agent at Athens Real Estate, operates an Airbnb at the intersection of Shafer and W. State Street, located in Zone B.
“I mean in general, I’m happy that owners are doing what they reasonably want with their property,” said Rapp Lee.
At the property, she said she had tried to be good stewards of the property out of courtesy to her neighbors (even though she didn’t live there) and had only had one issue with it. a noisy guest since she offered the property for short-term rental.
“I enjoyed it very much – I love Athens and welcoming people to the area is gratifying,” said Rapp Lee.