Guest My Turn: Harry Smith Jr.
The debate on short-term rentals in Wilmington has been going on for almost 3 years. The problem getting to a solution lies in the fact that the city council has not allowed the process to work like it was designed.
The process is supposed to work like this: Once a problem is presented to the city, council sends the issue to the planning commission, and as stated in the description of the planning commission’s guidelines, study the issue and come up with a proposed ordinance.
There has been no real study on the issue. The city staff had two public input sessions. Those forums were haphazard at best.
The problems associated with short-term rentals appear to be exaggerated. Begrudgingly, it has been verified there have only been 20 nuisance calls in four years. Add to that, we have two councilmen who appear to be pushing the outcome in their direction.
We need an unbiased study. We need to know the revenue impact and what this means for tourism in our city.
For the city council to sidestep its own rules to push through the agenda of a few well-placed downtown voices is wrong. If we allow this to continue, who will stop council from continuing to circumvent its own rules to accomplish their agenda instead of the will of the people?