WILMINGTON — Exactly how Wilmington will regulate the city’s short-term rental properties remains in the discussion phase after the city’s Planning Commission held a work session Wednesday that offered lots of discussion, but no action.
The commission decided to schedule another discussion, which has not been scheduled yet, on potential regulations that proponents say will preserve the character of individual neighborhoods, and opponents say is governmental overreach.
The city’s planning staff released its recommendations earlier this week. Those recommendations clarify definitions and suggested actions the city could take to regulate the currently unregulated form of home rentals.
Senior Planner Christine Hughes on Wednesday asked for guidance from commissioners.
“It would be a lot easier for us collectively if we could look towards some best practices and say ‘this is the best thing for us, let’s move forward’ … I want you all to feel like we have adequately shared the public information we have collected,” Hughes said.
Hughes said the people she has spoken with who are pro short-term rental have been amicable to possible regulations, as long as those rules are reasonable.
Members of the commission mulled over several of the suggested action items. They mostly focused on homestay’s, what the city defines as short-term rental units where the owner of the property remains on site. The other type of short-term rental, known as short-term lodging or whole-home rentals, will be discussed at the future work session.
Topics such as parking, the number of rental-units allowed within a certain area, and the potential of adding a third category of rentals to the list was discussed. The bulk of the discussion revolved around the historic residential districts of the city, where most proposed regulations are aimed.
The Planning Commission Wednesday had two choices: proceed to a public hearing, or schedule another work session. Commissioners agreed that it would be premature to bring the issue to a public hearing without further discussion.
Once the Planning Commission agrees on regulations, they would still require apprival by the Wilmington City Council before they would take effect.
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