On Tuesday, Greensboro’s city council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating short-term rentals, or STRs. The city estimates that there are more than 600 short-term rentals including AirBNBs and VRBOs in Greensboro.
According to the new regulations, STRs must be 750 feet apart. STRs will only be permissible in residential dwelling units, and hosts will be required to apply for and secure a zoning permit. For multifamily buildings, no more than one dwelling unit per building or 25 percent of the total units per building — whichever is greater — may be used as a short term rental. Short-term rentals can either be homestays — in which renters stay in a portion of the host’s home — or whole-house rentals. For homestays, the host of the rental must use the property as their primary residence and be on-site while renting a portion of the home. Under the proposed changes, property owners for whole-house rentals would be required to live within Guilford County or a directly adjacent county.
During the public hearing, some speakers said that earnings from their STR help them supplement their income and that their services provide housing to tourists or others coming to the city like traveling medical professionals.
STR owner Selden Morris said that AirBNBs “enrich spaces and bring more tourism” and that regulations strangle businesses like hers. Still others argued that allowing short-term housing options shoots up the housing market, impeding affordable housing and neighborhood concerns. Those in opposition wore stickers declaring “Say NO to Unlimited AirBNBs,” and spoke up to say that STRs near them have made their lives “virtually miserable.”
Council District 2 representative Goldie Wells asked residents to be more welcoming toward the city’s visitors.
“The thing I kept hearing was my neighborhood. My house….My neighbors… Greensboro is a welcoming city. Greensboro is growing. Things are changing,” Wells said, adding, “Who is your neighbor? They are your fellow man.”
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