Fayetteville commission mulls vacation rental regulations

Fayetteville commission mulls vacation rental regulations

There should be a distinction in city code between the two types of short-term rentals, but other aspects of a proposed regulation need closer examination, Fayetteville Planning commissioners agreed Feb. 10.

The Planning Commission held until Feb. 24 the first draft of a proposal to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner. The rentals would be able to operate in any zoning district allowing residences and hotels. Occupancy would be capped at two people per bedroom plus two, with a maximum of eight regardless of the number of rooms.

Density in neighborhoods would be limited to no more than one per eight homes in a block. None could go on a block with fewer than four homes. The owner of the home would not have to live there. Parties and special events would be prohibited.

Owners also would have to get a business license from the city, which would require a basic residential safety inspection. Any exceptions to the rules would require a permit from the Planning Commission.

More than a dozen people addressed the commission. About half were owners of a short-term rental property. Some were neighbors of such properties. Others voiced concerns about the effect on housing stock and affordability.

Some short-term rental property owners questioned the caps on the density of the properties in neighborhoods and occupancy limits. Erika Rayburn, co-owner of Stay NWA, which manages several vacation properties, suggested an occupant cap could be based on square footage rather than a maximum of eight.

Prohibiting parties or events would prevent people from being able to stay the night at the same place they hold a gathering, Rayburn said. Larger homes with four or more bedrooms could accommodate 10-12 people, she used as an example.

“We do feel like we’re trying to improve the economy here locally,” Rayburn said.

Marybeth Hays said her neighbors turned their home into a short-term rental near Maple Street. She said she supported having density caps, but in some instances an eight-person occupancy maximum could be too much. For instance, Hays and her neighbor share a driveway, and that many people coming in and out could be problematic, she said. Hays suggested having the occupancy limit based on buildings instead of number of rooms.

Evelyn Rios Stafford, a member of the Fayetteville Housing Authority Board, said nothing was in the first draft that prevented one person or entity from owning multiple properties as short-term rentals. The effect of that is detrimental to the housing stock of the city, she said.

The language as proposed effectively opens the door for about 10% of homes in the city to become short-term rentals, Stafford said. Too many short-term rentals can have unintended consequences, she said.

“The shift in supply has the potential to raise housing prices for long-term residents,” Stafford said.

Planning commissioners threw out several ideas and agreed the proposal needed more discussion before forwarding it to the City Council.

Commissioner Quinten Canada said he wanted to be mindful about the effect of absentee property owners on neighborhoods. As the city becomes a more popular place with an increasing number of events, demand for accommodations rises, he said.

“I think about people who live here, and with us already having a shortage in housing, I really think we need to take this slowly,” Canada said.

Commission Chairman Matt Hoffman suggested only regulating the properties in which the owner does not live. If a homeowner is renting out a room or an accessory dwelling, presumably the property is already fit for living, he said.

The density limitation shouldn’t apply in that instance because the concern is about absent property owners, Hoffman said. He also suggested occupancy be set at two people per bedroom plus two, without the eight-person limit.

Commissioner Leslie Belden said she owns short-term rental properties, and that businesses in a neighborhood are still a business. However, every neighborhood is different, and there should be a review process, she said.





Next Meeting

WHEN — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24

WHERE — Room 219, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville


Web Watch

To read more about the city’s proposed regulations for short-term rentals, go to:


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