Short-term rentals issue moving to City Council

Short-term rentals issue moving to City Council
Short term rentals have been studied by city of Wilmington staffers for more than two years.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The possibility of short-term rentals in Wilmington's historic downtown district took a hit on Monday night at a meeting of the city's planning commission.

A decision was made to let the City Council determine the fate of short-term rentals like Airbnb and vacation rental by owner (VRBO). That move received applause from those opposed to short-term rentals and groans from those in favor at the meeting in City Hall.

"We feel like the deck is stacked in council," said Karen Moran-Germ, a VRBO operator. "There's been a lot of people who have falsely accused short-term rentals as being a problem for everybody. We've been very responsible. Our people are good, middle-aged. ... The kind of people you want to attract to Wilmington."

Short-term rental supporters say it's good for tourism, the economy and personal income, and those opposed say the people who use the service have been disruptive and threaten the calm of the historic district.

Now that the issue is going to council, people who support short-term rentals are not as optimistic as they were before Monday's meeting.

One thing all planning commissioners agreed on Monday was taking a parking restriction away from the plans presented by staff. Those plans outline definitions of short- and long-term rentals and distance requirements among other things.

City Council is likely to request a joint work session with the planning commission to discuss more options.

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.