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Commissioners approve first permit for short-term rentals
Fowler STR
A home at 450 Fowler Road received the county's first conditional-use permit to operate a short-term rental.

After lots of discussion on how to regulate short-term rentals in Forsyth County over the years, commissioners signed off on the first conditional-use permit, or CUP, for one of the rentals.

Forsyth County Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the CUP to allow owners Gary and Joanne Goldstein to operate a short-term rental for four overnight guests with three parking spaces on 1.2 acres of agricultural district (A1) property at 450 Fowler Road, located beside Denmark High School.

“Most of the guests we've seen over the last three years were business people and families and also high school kids attending soccer, baseball, football tournaments because of Denmark High School, which is our neighbor right next door,” said Gary Goldstein.

Goldstein, who has been a landlord in the county for 17 years, said along with being near the high school, the spot has been popular due to being on a horse farm and the proximity to shopping and other amenities, like Northside Hospital Forsyth.

The property has already been used as a short-term rental for three years, and Goldstein said it had high ratings on sites like TripAdvisor and Airbnb.

Though it had already been used for rentals, the property required a CUP going forward as commissioners adopted new rules for the use last year, limiting them to only agricultural areas.

Short-term rentals have been a debate in the county for more than three years. Discussions on the topic date back to 2016, after neighbors living near homes used for short-term rentals raised concerns.

The change approved by commissioners defines short-term rentals as “accommodations for transient guests, rented for the purpose of overnight lodging for a period less than 30 days.” Bed and breakfasts and boarding houses are not considered short-term rentals. 

Additional considerations include the number of people staying overnight, the number of guests during the day, number of bedrooms, information on parking, lot sizes, the distance for lot lines and sewer capacity.

Only properties zoned agricultural district (A1) or agricultural-residential (Ag-Res) can apply.

In recent years, services like Airbnb have become a popular way for people to rent out a room or their house for short-term stays as a more personal and appealing — and often cheaper — choice over a hotel.