On July 18, 2023, a significant number of residents from Benton Avenue participated in the City Council Meeting. Among them, Cory Johnson and Todd Buchanan expressed common concerns on behalf of the neighborhood regarding short-term rentals during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Mr. Johnson indicated that currently, there is no existing short-term licensing program in place. Additionally, he indicated there are issues regarding the density of short-term rentals, specifically the clustering of numerous short-term rentals in a single neighborhood or area.
Finally Mr. Johnson stated there are discrepancies between the 2040 Comprehensive plan, which emphasizes the significance of single-family homes, and the commercial utilization of a group of homes within the neighborhood for short-term rental purposes.
During the City Council Meeting, Mr. Buchanan, a resident of Benton for the past 19 years, shared his perspective. He expressed the widespread concerns among the neighborhood residents about the growing concentration of short-term rentals at the end of Benton. These rentals have emerged in recent years and have brought along several associated problems such as increased traffic, weekend events, and parties.
“Concentrated clusters of short term rentals disrupt the sense of community, and permanence that is essential for fostering a strong neighborhood. The indiscriminate conversion of single family owner occupied homes into transient accommodations not only detracts from the long term stability but also detracts from the affordable housing options available,” stated Buchanan. He listed a number of municipalities that have put into place STR regulations in recent years.
Mayor Johanna Mouton responded, “We have a strategic planning session coming up, and we will consider as a council if the short term rental piece is going to be something that we focus on in the short term. We have considered as a council years ago and in fact I was the one who had brought it up to consider having some type of licensing or regulation in place. The majority of the Council did not agree that it was time or place to put something like that in motion. That was probably close to eight years ago, times and circumstances change, so we will discuss collectively as a group if the majority of the council feels that this is something that we need to address and frankly want to invest your money because it will be a long and expensive process to enact if that’s the way we want to go.”
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