B&B hostels and short term rentals in Old Hilliard for all styles

All styles of residences in Old Hilliard are considered potential sites for short-term rentals and bed-and-breakfast hostels, according to a proposed change to city code.

Hilliard City Council members are expected to consider a second and final reading of an ordinance, coupled with a public hearing, at 7 p.m. June 13 at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.

If passed, the ordinance would allow all residences of at least 800 square feet to be eligible as hospitality sites for short-term rentals and bed and breakfasts.

The proposal originally limited eligibility to single-family residences in the Old Hilliard neighborhood, but City Council on May 23, during the introduction and first reading of the ordinance, unanimously amended the ordinance to expand eligible sites to all residences in the Old Hilliard neighborhood.

Ahead of the action, City Manager Michelle Crandall suggested City Council could make the amendment to circumvent this later, as the Old Hilliard neighborhood turns into a more mixed-use area with a wider variety of housing styles. .

The proposal to allow short-term rentals and bed-and-breakfasts in the Old Hilliard neighborhood came to city council with a positive recommendation from the city’s planning and zoning commission.

On May 12, commission members unanimously recommended that city council amend the city code to add “short-term rentals” and “bed and breakfast type inns” as permitted uses in the neighborhood. Old Hilliard Mixed-Use and Old Hilliard Residential Area, and to add associated development standards.

The text originally provided that buildings of at least 1,500 square feet would be eligible for short-term rental and bed and breakfast status, but commission members reduced the area required for such status to 800 square feet, according to David Ball, director of community outreach for Hilliard.

During the May 23 city council discussion, Councilwoman Cynthia Vermillion suggested that any landlord who wants to use residences as a bed-and-breakfast hostel or short-term rental be required to register with the city.

But Crandall said the city could just as easily monitor usage through the websites used to advertise the listings and investigate any complaints, rather than expending city resources.

After the meeting, Vermillion said that while she still saw the need for a registry, she hadn’t made a motion to do so “because it was clear I didn’t have the support for it. “.

If the measure passes on June 13, purpose-built sites could be available as early as early July.

Andy Warnock, managing director of The Westwood Collective, said his company had identified three potential locations – two on Main Street and one on Norwich Street – as potential Airbnb sites.

The places are meant to be picturesque, he explained.

“(It is) not a party room, but rather an upscale, distinctively furnished home that provides a unique experience for our guests. We will stock local beer, local coffee and local desserts, and provide an entertainment guide to all that Hilliard has to offer,” Warnock said.

“We will be using Airbnb heavily, but not exclusively. VRBO is another site and we will self-market outside of national platforms.

He said that’s an important distinction because Airbnb and guesthouses aren’t the same.

An Airbnb is a lightly regulated home-sharing site, while bed and breakfasts are subject to state and local lodging laws, just like a large hotel chain, according to Warnock.

But some Norwich Street residents see it differently.

‘He invites in unsavory characters,’ said Norwich Street resident Colin Knell News this week May 23.

“It’s our neighborhood and our homes and we don’t want it on our street,” Knell said.

Knell said he’s not opposed to a bed-and-breakfast hostel, but draws a line with properties that operate as short-term rentals, especially those known as Airbnb.

Hayden Kimes, 31, grew up on Norwich Street and moved back to Norwich Street two years ago.

Kimes has a 2-year-old daughter and said he would ‘prefer not to see a Norwich Street pub crawl’.

“We have a residential core,” Kimes said.

Knell and Kimes each said they, along with others, plan to attend the public hearing for the order on June 13 to air their concerns.

City officials argue that such amenities are to benefit the Old Hilliard neighborhood and do not anticipate such problems.

Under his auspices as interim director of Destination Hilliard, Ball said such amenities would add to the vibrancy of Old Hilliard, which has been at the center of the city’s revitalization.

“Having this type of accommodation for visitors is one more feature that adds to the vibrancy of the downtown area, which has been at the heart of the redevelopment and revitalization of the city. We know that a healthy downtown benefits the whole community because it attracts visitors. to Hilliard who will spend their money on local businesses and improve the quality of life for our residents,” Ball said.

Hilliard’s Station Park hosts a series of weekly summer concerts during the city’s DORA, which this year expanded to seven days a week.

Many new businesses, including Center Street Market, Hilliard Station Baking Company and Sextons Pizza, have opened in recent years and could bring visitors to spend money locally in the city.

Libby Gierach, President and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, also welcomes the concept.

“Old Hilliard is the center of Hilliard and people want to be part of this vibrant area. Having short term rentals and bed and breakfasts makes Hilliard a more desirable location for visitors to experience all that Hilliard has to offer. offer, not only in Old Hilliard, but also in the other neighborhoods of our city, ”said Gierach.

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