Proposed city-parish short-term lease regulations on hold

    Residents and Airbnb owners will have to wait a little longer for short-term lease regulations as city-parish officials work to get more input on the issue and tweak the drafted ordinance.

    After Spanish Town Civic Association members raised concerns over a draft of the ordinance last month, Councilwoman Tara Wicker is holding onto it for now, allowing the parish attorney’s office to work on the potential regulations before taking it to the Metro Council.

    While she originally planned to tackle regulations piece-by-piece with multiple ordinances, starting with one that would only apply regulations to the city’s historic districts, Wicker plans for the first ordinance to regulate short-term rentals parishwide.

    “When we started having conversations about this issue, it started with the idea that the historic districts needed to be protected,” Wicker says. “But as we’ve had more discussion and we’ve seen what other areas of the country have done, we thought it would be good to open this to more dialogue because ultimately, this is something that will affect the whole parish, not just one or two neighborhoods.”

    Among ordinance demands from Spanish Town residents is a stipulation requiring the owner of a short-term rental property to reside onsite, civic association board member Mary Jane Mercantel told the Downtown Development District Board of Commissioners this morning, as well as a ban on whole-house rentals owned by outside investors.

    And while the Parish Attorney’s office will use the previously drafted ordinance as a foundation for the new parishwide regulations, Wicker doesn’t expect a new ordinance to be ready for the Metro Council until the fall. In the meantime, she says there will be community meetings, and continued meetings with stakeholders on the issue.

    Read a recent Business Report story on the concerns Spanish Town residents have over short-term rentals in their neighborhood, and read Publisher Rolfe McCollister’s take on the situation.

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