Waynesville approves Airbnb ordinance, lifts moratorium

Waynesville Village Council discuss the proposed short-term rental ordinance. Council unanimously approved the new ordinance at its June 21 meeting. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Waynesville Village Council discuss the proposed short-term rental ordinance. Council unanimously approved the new ordinance at its June 21 meeting. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Short-term rentals like Airbnb are now permitted in Waynesville after the Village Council approved an emergency ordinance to allow property owners to offer them in the village.

The emergency ordinance was unanimously approved Monday. It regulates short-term rentals and also automatically terminated a moratorium on such rentals that was put in place on April 19.

Until Monday, Waynesville had ordinances that regulated local hotels and bed & breakfast inns. The village had nothing in its code regulating the short-term rentals of fewer than 30 days, such as Airbnb or VRBO rentals.

ExploreWaynesville places six-month moratorium on short-term rentals less than 30 days

The moratorium was put in place after some village residents raised concerns about a home that they thought was being used as an Airbnb rental.

At its April 5 council meeting, resident Sharon Jewell of Robindale Drive presented a petition by concerned residents who were against allowing a possible Airbnb rental on her street.

Jewell expressed concerns about property values being brought down. In addition, she said there were concerns about the element of some renters and felt it would be bad for the community to allow Airbnb rentals in areas of the village that are zoned for single-family residential homes.

ExploreWaynesville closer to regulating Airbnb homes in village

A special council committee met multiple times in May to review ordinances from other communities and developed the proposed ordinance presented on June. 7.

At the June 7 meeting, Robert Cross, a North Main Street resident who wanted to operate an Airbnb location in his 185-year-old house, questioned the amount of regulation in the ordinance.

Following a lengthy discussion, council gave the proposed ordinance a first reading and addressed some of the concerns raised by Cross.

At Monday’s meeting, council reviewed the changes made by Law Director Jeff Forbes as well as other changes by council members before they voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.

“I’m happy with it,” Cross said. “I feel they were respectful to me and that they listened to my concerns. I believe they (council) were genuinely concerned to make it right for all of us.”

Jewell expressed her thanks to council for addressing the issue.

“I think this is a win/win for the community,” she said. “We’ll be a better community for doing this right and I think we handled this as adults.”