City + Citizen News

City Council postpones vote on ordinance prohibiting some short-term rentals

Tuesday, February 15

Council to revisit short-term rental regulation discussion March 14


At their meeting on Monday, Spartanburg City Council voted 6-0 to postpone potential regulations to online short-term rentals offered by services such as AirBnB, VRBO, and HomeAway until their meeting on March 14, during which time the City's Planning and Legal teams will research how other communities have sought to regulate such rentals. Council member Janie Salley was absent from the meeting due to a family illness.


The postponement comes after Council voted 4-3 at their January 24 meeting to approve on first reading a change to the City's zoning ordinance prohibiting online short-term rentals in residential areas. Council members Rob Rain, Janie Salley and Erica Brown voted against first reading.

In a memo to City Council before the January 24 meeting, City Attorney Bob Coler said that staff has treated short-term rentals as analogous to hotels and motels, which are restricted from operating in residential areas, and that City Staff had informed property owners inquiring about such listings of the restriction. Coler added that short-term rentals often result in excessive persons, vehicles, and noise that can have a destabilizing effect on residential neighborhoods. City Staff has recently seen an increasing number of homes in the city being listed on the rental sites, leading to the recommendation that the ordinance be updated to reflect this new style of short-term rental.


During his presentation for second reading on Monday, Coler outlined a number of changes to the initial ordinance which would allow short-term rentals in a limited capacity. Under the ordinance, residences under 1,500 square feet would've been permitted to be listed as short-term rentals provided the property owners lives no more than five miles from the residence. Residences over 1,500 square feet could've only been offered as short-term rentals if the property owner resides at the same address and remains there during the lease.


Before voting to table the ordinance until March 14, Council members expressed interest in exploring various options in regulating short-term rentals, with broad agreement that the City's zoning ordinance should be updated to clarify the City's stance on the trend in online short-term rental units.


For more from Monday's Spartanburg City Council meeting, see the full video below.