Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wilmington to pay new costs to regulate short-term rentals, two new staff positions required

Regulating short-term rentals has been an ongoing battle for several years, now, the city has agreed to new restrictions but enforcing them is going to cost residents.

The City of Wilmington's Planning Commission failed to reach an agreement on short-term rentals Monday night (Port City Daily photo/FILE)
The City of Wilmington’s Planning Commission failed to reach an agreement on short-term rentals Monday night (Port City Daily photo/FILE)

WILMINGTON — The debate over short-term rentals in Wilmington has finally come to an end (for now) after City Council approved new regulations for homestays and whole-house rentals, but with new laws comes new costs — $66,412 up front, with annual costs of around $150,000 on the horizon.

According to City Manager Sterling Cheatham in this week’s council agenda, “… The implementation and enforcement of short-term lodging registration and regulation within the City limits will create a new code enforcement function. Based upon research of short-term lodging program implementation experiences in other communities, staff anticipates this legislation will require intensive personnel resources to administer effectively.”

In order to enforce the new regulations, the city will need to create two new positions, a full-time zoning officer and a full-time permit technician will be required.

But it’s not just the costs for new staff, ongoing annual costs will be around $150,000 to regulate the rentals, according to city staff. This includes rental tracking software and other expenses.

The city is already planning on issues arising from the new legislation.

Cheatham wrote, “Given the potential significant value of this use to a property owner, staff anticipates alleged violation complaints will be numerous and those violating the ordinance will seek appellate remedies. Preparing for this level of enforcement action is expected to be staff and resource intensive. With these new regulations, zoning officers will need to allocate significantly more time to investigations and case management to ensure that cases are prepared for litigation.”

The City Council will vote on approving the additional funding on Tuesday.

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