My turn: Council input and control of the future of short-term rentals

Published: Feb. 21, 2017 at 5:49 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2017 at 2:47 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington City Council really appears to be wringing its hands over the issue of the future of short term rentals, and I find that fascinating because not all economic opportunities are received this way.

Remember when Uber became a thing a few years back?  Some local taxi drivers were upset about the competition, but the city of Wilmington was very hands-off when it came to regulating that option.

Now, more and more people are considering ways to make money with their home, renting it for visitors coming to Wilmington for a few days or a few weeks. City Council appears to be more hands-on this time.

I know it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but council appears to have some vocal constituents on each side of this aisle. Certainly, someone is going to be upset with the ultimate decision that council makes.

In general, I think homeowners should be allowed to use their property within the confines of the zoning regulations. And I'm in favor of following the same hands-off precedent used with ride-sharing companies.

If residents allow someone else access to their property and those folks get rowdy or create problems, deal with those on an individual basis.  I can't imagine that it's going to turn into a hot mess.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

Emailed comments from viewers:

But Gary,

We have big name hotels coming into town who want exclusive rights to tourist dollars. It's the Corporate Way.

And that's the only reason this is an issue.


We are in favor of homeowners being able to rent space in their homes with some guidelines.


Investors from Raleigh, New York and other areas are buying up available housing to run their businesses in residential districts to the detriment of the quality of neighborhood life. The have shown a disregard for existing zoning regulations.

Two years ago the count was roughly 20. Some estimates today put the number at over one hundred. They are not registered so it is difficult to count. Will we end up like other cities with reported dead zones, streets of empty houses only occupied on weekends with party people.

Gary investigate the negative impact of poorly regulated Airbnb's in cities because we may well be on our way, unless City Council acts to ENFORCE existing zoning and regulates these businesses.