Forsyth County Commissioners are close to having a plan for handling rentals through Airbnb and similar services in the county.
At a recent meeting, commissioners held the first of two required public hearings on a new ordinance aimed at short-term rentals in residential homes in the county. Another public hearing will be held in June.
“We actually had a public hearing of a version of this back in January,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “That resulted in enough discussion that it got taken to a work session, and basically the board wanted to massage it more [and] hear from stakeholders more.”
Some of the changes approved by commissioners were limiting rentals to 20 weeks in a year with rentals allowed no more than twice a month, requiring a minimum of seven days and not allowing renters to reimburse for fewer nights stayed.
Other changes mean the rentals will require the owner to have a business license, a local contact person and different standards for houses on sewer than those on septic systems and limiting the number of cars that can be parked at a home.
In recent years, services like Airbnb have become a popular way for people to find residents who want to rent out a room or their house for short-term stays as an alternative choice to hotels.
While the rentals might save money for consumers, the county does not get the same taxes that the visitors staying at a hotel would generate.
There have also been past concerns about noise complaints involving these renters.
During the meeting, several residents living near houses used for rentals shared their negative experiences with commissioners, which include noise and issues on roads.
“I don’t know what you all were doing the night the Winter Olympics opened. That was Feb. 9. This is what was happening at my house at my screen porch at 10:30 at night,” said David Neal, who played audio he could hear from his house that night.
Josh McAfee spoke against the ordinance and said he felt all who hosted the rentals were being punished for bad actors.
“Punishing the 99 percent of us that do this responsibly and actually do give a darn about our neighbors and care about our properties, that’s something you should be considering,” McAfee said. “It always bothers me when you hear about things that punish good citizens for what bad citizens are doing.”