Red Bank tables its short-term rental rules proposal

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Red Bank city commissioners are postponing until April votes on two proposed ordinances relating to short-term rentals.

One of the ordinances would have defined the city's commercial, R3 and R4 zones as permitted areas for short-term rentals, and would have prohibited them in other residential zones. The second would have established regulations for the operation of short-term rentals. The city now has no permitted zones or regulations in place for short-term rentals, said City Attorney Arnold Stulce, meaning all short-term rental property owners in the city are in violation of the zoning ordinance.

"I think we need to do more research on this," Commissioner Terry Pope said after making a motion to table the vote, adding that he wanted to see if there was any opposition from city residents before making a decision.

No residents spoke in opposition to short-term rentals in their neighborhoods at a public hearing for the ordinances held at the Tuesday commission meeting, when numerous owners of properties used as short-term rentals spoke against the proposed limitations and regulations.

Resident Chris Williams said he rents an apartment on his property on a short-term basis for supplemental income.

"We've never had problems with noise or partying," he said, adding that he's had no opposition from neighbors, some of whom have used the apartment to house visiting guests.

He explained that short-term rental website Airbnb allows hosts to rate their guests after a stay, so hosts have a way of vetting potential renters.

"[Short-term renters] are people who will do nothing but enhance Red Bank, like I think we have," said Barry Evans, a Hixson resident who owns two Red Bank properties used as short-term rentals.

Commissioner Carol Rose said one of her concerns is that, while Airbnb's rating system may give short-term rental hosts a way of screening potential renters, that website isn't the only one people use to advertise and book short-term rentals.

"We don't want to do something that would devalue the property of the neighbors," Pope said. "We work for the people of the city and want to make sure everyone knows what's going on."

Commissioners plan to vote on the ordinances at their April 3 meeting at City Hall at 7 p.m.

Contact staff writer Emily Crisman at [email protected]