Baton Rouge Tax Shift and Short-Term Rental Limits Draw More Rebuffs Than Praises in Public Inquiry | Red Stick

A move to tighten restrictions on short-term rentals in East Baton Rouge Parish — a proposal that includes levying special taxes on operators — has drawn more rebuffs than praise.

For a variety of reasons, more than 60% of people who weighed in on the city-parish planning commission’s proposed guidelines presented last month said they oppose what’s currently on the table.

The public comments are expected to have a significant influence on the working group that brainstormed the regulations currently being developed by the Planning Commission and the Metro Board.

“We had a productive meeting and there will definitely be adjustments,” Gilles Morin, deputy planning director, said Friday. “We’ve gone through some of the common themes around feedback, and I think we’re in a good place.”

A recent study found that East Baton Rouge is home to approximately 460 short-term rentals.

The opposition varies greatly.

Some people simply don’t like aspects of the guidelines, while others say they go too far and hurt entrepreneurship, according to survey feedback The Advocate obtained through a request for public records.

Of the 138 people who responded to the poll – the results of which were published on the Planning Commission’s website – 91 said they opposed the proposed settlement, 28 said they supported it and 19 supported it. said they weren’t sure.

Regulations being discussed would allow short-term rentals marketed through popular sites like Airbnb on a limited basis.

Under the proposed rules, operators would pay local sales, use and occupancy taxes, just as hotels and motels are required to do. The task force recommendations would also require landlords to live on-site and rent no more than two bedrooms.

Whole house rentals, meaning where a landlord does not live on the property, would be allowed – but only with more restrictions.

To rent an entire home, owners would have to go through a public hearing, get a permit, and have the license renewed every year. Maximum occupancy would be capped at six people for two-bedroom homes, with an additional reserved parking space in residential communities for each bedroom.

Operators violating any of the proposed changes would lose their ability to rent out their rooms or property for a year.

Some residents said they weren’t too keen on the idea of ​​the local government imposing more restrictions on private property.

Tonja Normand, who lives on Perkins Road, said she owned and lived in a house she was considering renting through Airbnb, and she doesn’t think the parish town should stop her from doing so.

“I already pay a lot of property taxes to the parish,” she said, “and I don’t want to be told what I can do with my house.”

Sydney Epps, who also opposes the outstanding stipulations, described them as a cash grab that would hurt her secondary source of income.

“Short-term rental helps me pay for my home,” the Fountain Avenue landlord wrote in response to the survey. “Proposals like this hurt longtime residents; people are leaving Louisiana because policies are making Exxon rich and everyone else poorer and sicker year after year. Regulate environmental terrors; don’t regulate this I do at home. It’s intrusive.”

Marie Constantin, who lives in the historic Spanish town where the regulation debate originated, echoed concerns shared by many of her neighbors about the transformation of entire homes into short-term rentals, encroaching on the character and parking of the community and attracting unruly guests.

“Whole-house is nothing more than a hotel without a manager and a hotel without the video that safe or reputable hotels need to stop bad behavior,” she wrote in her objection.

She said she wants short-term whole-house rentals banned completely in her neighborhood.

“Between residential units illegally turned into businesses and the entire house without a manager living on site and without video, Spanish Town will be on its way to being absorbed into the (downtown development district),” she said. declared. “This city needs to decide if this is the direction it wants its oldest neighborhood to go.”

Jessica Starns-Debetaz said owners of short-term rentals should pay sales and occupancy taxes and suggested adding regulations on security and insurance requirements.

Paul Evans, who lives on Woodlake Drive, also expressed support for the proposed settlement, saying he likes the rules that will protect the integrity of residential neighborhoods.

However, he added, “not all properties and all types of properties should obey the same rules”.

After reading initial public feedback, Morin said the task force doesn’t feel the need to require professional licenses for short-term rentals. Instead, he said, it would make more sense to have them register with the city-parish to pay sales and occupancy taxes — or prove they work with a platform. who did it.

The parish town isn’t rushing to try to pass bylaws, however, Morin said. The working group intends to meet again next month and has not yet set a date to submit a final draft to the Planning Commission and the Metro Board.

“It’s not happening as fast as I hoped, but that’s not a bad thing,” he said.

New Orleans has had to revise its own short-term rental ordinance at least three times since it was passed, he noted.

“It’s important to be careful and make sure everything is done right,” Morin said.

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