Southport Board of Aldermen suspends short-term rental ordinance requirements

Southport Board of Aldermen suspends short-term rental ordinance requirements
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 9:43 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -The Southport Board of Aldermen met on September 8 and voted unanimously to suspend short-term rental permit requirements.

The vote follows after the NC Court of Appeals ruled Wilmington’s short-term rental permit requirements as partially invalid after finding that state law prohibits cities from requiring registration or permission to rent a home.

Southport City Attorney Norwood Blanchard believes there are still ways for the city to impose restrictions on short-term rentals, like through zoning amendments and regulations, and that the Court of Appeals ruling will continue to shape short-term rental ordinances across the state, not just in Southport and Wilmington.

“So you can prohibit short term rentals in some parts of town,” Blanchard said. “You can also impose other regulations, health and safety type regulations things like requiring insurance, things like not allowing people to cook or other safety type issues like that.”

Last year, the Southport Board of Alderman voted 4-2 for stricter regulation of short-term rental regulations after neighbors raised concerns on maintaining a high quality of life, sentiments which Southport Mayor Joseph Hatem echoes.

“I don’t anticipate any changes. I do not anticipate any board that would allow growth of short-term vacation rentals in our neighborhoods. We want to keep them in tact, the charm, the atmosphere, and we want neighbors. We don’t want people coming in for two or three days and then leaving,” Hatem said.

City staff will now prepare a list of people who paid fees for vacation rentals, short-term rentals, homestays, and whole-home rentals to be refunded.

The issue will now go to the planning board to update the ordinance officially, though enforcement of the requirements has been stopped for now.