Oakwood has passed a law effective January 1, 2020, banning short term rentals (less than 25 days) including Airbnb homes.(STAFF/FILE)

Ex-Dayton mayor opposes Oakwood ban on short-term rentals, Airbnbs

The legislation comes in the wake of other cities in the area attempting to regulate Airbnb and other short-term property rentals.

Supporters of short-term rentals showed up to address council this week, saying that short-term lodging offers affordable options for travelers and helps property owners looking to make extra income.

Other residents expressed gratitude to Oakwood leaders that the measure was passed.

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Former Dayton mayor Gary Leitzell addressed council and was not happy with the idea of having the new ordinance passed.

“I know how difficult it is sometimes to make fair decisions that affect the community,” he said to council. “You don’t only have an obligation to the registered voters who live in Oakwood, you also have an obligation to those who may not reside in the community, but work here and pay income tax to support your government.”

He said the enacted legislation “will not solve your problems and has already created a new one.”

Leitzell asked council to postpone making a decision until further research could be done on the issue so it won’t affect those who are in the transient guest lodging business.

“Regulate don’t eliminate, it is as simple as that,” Leitzell said. “Time is not of the essence; you have already extended this to January 1.”

Jeffrey Owens said he lives a stone’s throw from the University of Dayton and has been living in the community for 13 years. He is glad that the new legislation was passed because some TGL guests have not been respectful of neighbors.

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“I respect the fact that people are paying very high taxes here in Oakwood,” he said, but added that some of the TGL visitors to a house in his neighborhood have been disruptive. “If these kind of manifestations become more-and-more common, then I am afraid I would have to maybe think twice about making Oakwood my permanent home.”

Kate Burch is an Airbnb host, and she spoke in favor of tabling any vote on the legislation.

“We have lived in our beautiful 103-year-old Oakwood house for 35 years and we are older now,” Burch said. “We are paying the very high property taxes that Mr. Leitzell talked about.”

Burch has operated an Airbnb for three years in space above their garage.

Burch said that guests using her Airbnb add value to the community because they visit shops and spend their money in Oakwood.

Cara Kite and her family moved to Oakwood 10 years ago from the South Park historical district in Dayton, citing comfort, safety and the welfare of their family as reasons. She felt passage of the legislation helps reinforce those reasons, while helping protect the tranquility of Oakwood.

“I want to thank you for enacting this ordinance. This is the right thing to do,” she said. 

Oakwood Law Director Rob Jacques said that the ban was carefully reviewed city officials, but can always be amended or changed.

“It is permanent in the sense that it is not a temporary moratorium,” he said. “But like any other legislation, it can be amended or repealed by council in the future if they decide there is a need to do so.”

The newly-enacted ordinance has no impact on rentals for periods longer than 25 days, including traditional month-to-month or yearly leases, which will continue as always, according to Jacques.

“Rental properties in Oakwood must be registered as such through Montgomery County, and are subject to inspection and reporting requirements under Oakwood’s rental inspection program,” he said. “The prohibition against short-term rentals will take effect on January 1, 2020.”

Smaller areas like Yellow Springs and Oakwood offer shops and restaurants that appeal to travelers.

Denise Swinger, planning and zoning administrator for Yellow Springs, said Village Council passed an ordinance July 15 to make transient guest lodging a conditional use. That requires a public hearing before the Planning Commission for those who want to host short-term rentals.

Communities want to be open to TGL types of operations, but still must find a way to properly regulate them for the safety of the residents living there and for the guests who are booking a stay, according to Swinger.

Jacques agrees and says the new legislation in Oakwood is not an attempt to create an adversarial stance with the TGL industry.

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“This ordinance is not an ‘anti-AirBNB’ ordinance. It is an anti-short term rental ordinance,” he said. “Rentals for periods longer than 25 days will still be permitted, regardless of whether they involve a traditional lease, an AirBNB booking, or arrangements through any other rental platform.”

He noted that Oakwood does not currently have a lodging tax or excise tax. All rental income is reportable and subject to the city’s income tax, as required by local, state, and federal law.

City of Dayton Planning Division Manager Tony Kroeger said the city currently does not have additional regulations for short-term rentals — that is, they are subject to the same regulations as other properties within the same zoning district.

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“This is certainly an issue that many local governments are thinking about, including whether to regulate beyond the traditional codes, and if so, how to do that,” he explained. “In considering such regulations, one has to ask what they are trying to achieve.”

Kroeger said some recent research reveals that people in the TGL business have kept up their properties.

“I can tell you that we recently took a sampling of such properties in Dayton, and found that nine of the 10 were—based on personal observation—in as good or better of a maintenance/upkeep state than the surrounding properties. Also, all 10 were current on property taxes,” he said.

How Dayton firmly lands on either side of the issue is still an ongoing debate.

“So, we are certainly not ignoring this growing trend, and we will continue to monitor it, but we are taking this opportunity to learn about their impact, as well as learn from the experiences in other communities,” Kroeger said.

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