The city of Soddy-Daisy is extending until May 1 its moratorium on the acceptance of new short-term rental applications for properties not occupied by the owner.
Commissioners voted in October to enact the moratorium through March 30. No one spoke in opposition to the moratorium during the public hearings before the Oct. 6 and March 2 votes.
In September of last year Commissioner Gene-o Shipley requested that City Attorney Sam Elliott review the city's short-term rental ordinance. At the time, only three or four short-term rentals were operating with permits in the city, according to minutes from the commission's Sept. 19 meeting.
"We had so many popping up illegally," Shipley said by phone, as to why he requested Elliott review the ordinance. "Neighbors were questioning whether we had any control over it."
Once the city passed the moratorium Oct. 20, the city had a handful of people apply for permits before the moratorium went into effect 14 days later, Shipley said by phone.
(READ MORE: Property owners form group to oppose Chattanooga’s proposed vacation rental rules)
"I have done a little bit of research as to what restrictions can be put on these nonowner-occupied (rental properties)," Elliott said at the commission's Oct. 6 meeting. "There are public policy reasons why that is not desirable."
Shipley said neighbors should be notified when someone applies for a short-term rental permit, which is not required under the city's ordinance, according to minutes from the Sept. 19 meeting.
Short-term rental owners sometimes exceed the occupancy limits of their properties, creating fire hazards and overburdening septic systems, Shipley said by phone, as examples of how short-term rentals, particularly illegally operated short term rentals, can be problematic.
"Most people don't want them in their neighborhood," Shipley said. "You get a new set of strangers living by you every week."
Shipley, who is also a Hamilton County commissioner, also suggested Hamilton County review its regulations for short-term rentals that aren't occupied by the owner.
The County Commission is set to vote on its new regulations in April, Shipley said at the March 3 Soddy-Daisy Commission meeting.
(READ MORE: Hamilton County again extends vacation rental permit pause as updated rules near completion)
"Chattanooga's doing a study right now, and we're going to kind of learn from what they're doing with their study to see how they're getting a better handle on short-term rentals," City Manager Burt Johnson said at the Oct. 20 commission meeting.
(READ MORE: Chattanooga City Council gives initial OK to new vacation rental rules with larger buffer zone)
HOW OTHER TOWNS REGULATE SHORT-TERM RENTALS
Here's how other Hamilton County municipalities regulate short-term rentals:
Collegedale: Short-term rentals are allowed with a $300 permit, which has a $100 annual renewal fee. Applicant must designate a person who's available 24/7 to respond to complaints within a 45-minute period, among other requirements.
Lookout Mountain: Short-term rentals of less than 30 days are prohibited.
East Ridge: Short-term rentals are prohibited in the R-1 single-family residential zone, and may be permitted in the R-2, R-3 and R-5 multi-family residential zones.
Red Bank: Allowed in R-3, R-4 special and R-5 multi-family zones with permit. Permits for owner-occupied rentals are $75 and permits for rental not occupied by the owner are $125. Annual permit renewals are $100.
Signal Mountain: Short-term rentals that aren't occupied by the owner are prohibited. Owner-occupied short-term rentals are allowed with permit. Neighbors within a 100-foot radius of the property line must be notified by certified mail of permit application, among other requirements.
Walden: Short term vacation rentals are allowed only in the town's C-1 commercial zone. The town recently formed its own planning commission, which is expected to re-evaluate the town's short-term rental regulations in late spring or early summer.
Contact Emily Crisman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6508.