Chattanooga City Council to consider rezoning request for vacation rentals on Southside property

Staff photo by Ben Sessoms / A zoning notice is seen Monday near 1115 E. 14 St. for a hearing on construction of short-term vacation rentals on the property.
Staff photo by Ben Sessoms / A zoning notice is seen Monday near 1115 E. 14 St. for a hearing on construction of short-term vacation rentals on the property.

The Chattanooga City Council is scheduled Tuesday at its regular meeting to consider a rezoning request that would allow for the construction of short-term vacation rentals on two tracts of Southside properties.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission in August heard a proposal from Nathan Brown, the property owner, to consider rezoning the land to a designation that allows for the construction of townhomes to be used as short-term vacation rentals.

The properties are at 1115 and 1117 E. 14th St. as well as an unaddressed lot on the 1100 block.

The commission, based on the August meeting, is recommending against the request, according to a report submitted to the City Council.

Instead, the commission is recommending the City Council move against the short-term rental request and allow only detached single-family houses, townhomes or zero lot line units, a residential zoning where the home would come up to or near the property line.

The commission is also recommending the requirement that parking and access be located at the rear of the property.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County bolsters regulations for short-term vacation rentals, adds regular inspections)

Brown, the owner of the properties and home-building company Southern Sun Home Builders, said in an interview he plans on building eight townhomes on the property to rent for long-term stays, if the City Council prohibits short-term vacation rentals on his property.

After imposing a yearlong moratorium on new short-term vacation rentals, the city began accepting applications for short-term rentals in July under a new ordinance that pushes new regulations on the rentals.

Demand for short-term rental permits was lower than expected, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported in July.

In the two weeks after the moratorium ended, 38 new applications were submitted to the city.

Chris Anderson, Mayor Tim Kelly's senior adviser for legislative initiatives, said Monday he did not have updated numbers immediately available.

The properties on East 14th Street lie in District 8, which is represented by Council Member Marven Noel, of Orchard Knob.

Noel could not be reached by phone or email for comment, but she has previously voiced opposition against having too many short-term rentals in the city, especially in her district.

In Feburary, Noel proposed disallowing short-term vacation rentals within 1,000 feet of each other in a single-family detached zoning district. The measure was eventually not included in the final ordinance approved in May that imposes new regulations on short-term rentals.

The Times Free Press previously reported the new regulations clamp down on short-term rentals in the city.

Brown said the new regulations are too restrictive.

"They might as well just left that (moratorium) in place at this point," Brown said.

Noel has previously argued illegal rentals in her district are an issue.

In a news release in May, Kelly said the city must work to crack down on illegal rentals, which he said disrupt the character of neighborhoods and inflate housing prices.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga City Council unanimously approves extra floor for North Shore development)

Contact Ben Sessoms at bsessoms@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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