Short-term rentals ordinance headed for a vote by Lexington Council

by Stuart Johnson, WEKU

Lexington city leaders appear ready to place a new law regulating short-term housing rentals on the books. It’s been a process taking place over a number of years.

The Urban County Council in the fall of 2019 first considered a draft ordinance for short-term rentals. After a lot of work, the most recent proposal is headed for a final vote in July. Tuesday’s Council work session included public comment. Chris Heustis said he’s an Airbnb super host and worries the new regs will be too burdensome.

“I get along with my neighbors. My house may be the most diverse house in Lexington. I have had homeless people stay as well as people who come to Lexington to buy thoroughbreds at the Keeneland sales,” said Huestis.

One of the amendments approved this week calls for less stringent regulations for short-term rentals in commercial zones. Council Member James Brown says the compromise policy gives operators the best opportunity to be successful but also protects the integrity of neighborhoods.

Third District resident Doug Burton told the Council he has short-term rentals on either side of his house. Burton said that can mean between 500 and 12 hundred neighbors a year.

“People are loud and they don’t care. Most people care. But, all you need when you have 1200 neighbors, ten percent of that not caring is a lot of sleepless nights. So, I’m glad we’re doing something with this ZOTA. I’m glad we’re putting something in place that’s gonna help us,” said Burton.

Some operators asked council members to eliminate the cap on residents in short-term rentals. Council Member Liz Sheehan agrees there’s been a major effort made to find some compromise when it comes to operators and nearby residents. As far as the cap, Sheehan said the reg reads two people per bedroom or 12 total, whichever is less.

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Photo by Stu Johnson, WEKU

Republished with permission.