Game days fueled debate over short-term rentals

The Auburn family loves nothing more than good competition and a place to feel right at home. With the arrival of the Iron Bowl, homes are filling up faster than ever before due to new Auburn City Council regulations for short-term rentals.

Auburn’s short-term rental ordinances of 1999 were updated in 2018. The citizens of Auburn have raised their concerns to City Council and action has been taken regarding short-term rentals.

The Short-Term Rentals Ordinance states that an investment property cannot be rented for more than 240 days per year and not more than 30 consecutive days at a time.

The community has posted signs that say “Do not host our neighborhoods” in response to short-term rentals. Short-term rentals are now not allowed in areas zoned as neighborhood conservation.

Ward 2 Council member Kelley Griswold has expressed support for the current ordinance.

“Personally, I have fully supported the change,” Griswold said. “I think that’s a good thing and it’s a good thing because it responds to what the people who actually reside here wanted to happen.”

City Council recognizes that rentals are necessary for events. The neighborhood’s conservation zoning allowed this to still happen under the regulations.

“The Iron Bowl is going to be a huge draw just like any big game,” said Griswold. “There are other things in Auburn that attract people in the short term, whether it’s a softball tournament or a graduation party. But it’s always available if they want to do it, just do it in. areas where it is permitted. “

Other citizens feel that the current ordinances need to be revised for a variety of reasons.

In June, Steven Dixon, a member of Ward 5 city council, sued the town of Auburn over zoning ordinances for short-term rentals.

“There are a lot of different things that help the economy here in Auburn,” Dixon said of their property. And then on top of that, you have to keep the property maintained.

Dixon explained how many Auburn citizens depend on short-term rentals.

“I usually hire landscapers to maintain the yard and I hire someone to clean the house before and after. It doesn’t just impact who owns it,” Dixon said. You can see the bigger impact of the economy, it’s a huge part of the economy here. Then you also have the people who are renting, they come in and they spend the taxpayer money in the city. they buy gas here, they do their shopping, they go to restaurants, there are a lot of advantages to bringing people in.

Problems of loss of income were raised by citizens during the creation of the zones. As a growing city, Auburn has started to attract more rental inquiries other than match day weekends, which has increased interest in short-term rentals.

While action was taken on citizen complaints about short-term rentals, this was an issue that was not investigated but was simply discussed according to Dixon.

“The mayor created a task force called the Short-Term Leasing Task Force,” Dixon said. “And all of those people that were there really didn’t do any work. They basically just sat around the table and talked about their own ideas, what they think or what short-term rental is. and its impact on people, but no real studies have been done. They haven’t looked at any kind of data for the city. “

Many citizens feel that this issue has been rushed. With the football season and a big game ahead, disputes over short-term rentals are resuming.

Places to rent still exist in Auburn, however, Dixon has seen people start renting homes in Columbus, Ga., An hour from Auburn, due to restrictions and limitations imposed by ordinances.

“People had to stay in Columbus, Georgia,” Dixon said. “Because there weren’t enough houses or not enough properties to rent. So people were spending their tax dollars in Columbus, Georgia. Georgia, compared to here. ”

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