Village Council – New Restrictions, Charges for Airbnbs • The Yellow Springs Information

If you want to run an Airbnb on a property that you don’t live on, you can no longer do so.

And those who already have an Airbnb they don’t live in are subject to annual fees of $ 2,000 and regular background checks.

After months of discussion by both the Village Council and the Planning Commission, the council passed two laws on Monday May 3rd to discourage some guys from Airbnbs here.

At the virtual meeting, the council unanimously passed a change to the zone code and, in a 4: 1 vote, passed a change in the village’s excise tax, with council member Laura Curliss voting against this. They will take effect in 30 days.

In both measures, the council targeted those who operate Airbnbs, officially known as Temporary Guest Accommodation, or TGLs, on land they do not live on.

In its strongest stance to date, the Council has created a moratorium on new permits for TGLs that are not occupied by operators. When changing the zone code, anyone who wants to run an Airbnb now will need to show that the property is their primary residence, which means that they live there for at least 51% of the year.

Brian Housh, president of the village council, said the measures should prevent people from turning what “long-term rentals or family homes” could be houses into Airbnbs, which affects both the availability and affordability of housing in the city.

“This is targeting a very specific scenario that is taking houses off the market,” said Housh.

In the meantime, changes to the village’s excise tax ordinance are aimed at the existing TGLs that are not occupied by the operator. The eight TGLs in this situation are grandfathered but are now paying heavy fees, including an annual certificate fee of $ 500 and an annual “affordable housing reduction” fee of $ 1,500 that will go to a newly created affordable housing fund in Village.

Some changes to the lodging excise ordinance also affect the other TGLs, including five hotels / bed & breakfasts and 35 airbnbs in private homes in the city. These operators are now required to pay an annual certification fee of USD 100 in addition to the 3% Village Housing Tax.

In the case of other approved changes to the zone code that affect future TGL applicants, no more than one TGL approval per property or owner will be issued. Village planning and zoning administrator Denise Swinger explained this change, which was recommended by the planning commission.

“You will not use your house or your living unit [for a TGL]. It will be one or the other, ”she said. “It’s something that comes up a lot.”

“If you have two properties, you can only do one TGL,” she added.

Finally, the planning commission can now examine the effects of a TGL on affordable housing in order to decide whether a new permit should be approved or denied. So far, the Commission could only check whether other approved TGLs were in the vicinity in order to avoid a concentration of TGLs in one neighborhood and complaints from neighbors.

Since TGLs became conditional in August 2019, the planning committee has approved eight permits and denied none. Four TGL approvals are to be heard at the next planning committee meeting on May 11th, but the committee must review them against the previous guidelines. However, if approved, they will be subject to the new fees.

Council comments

Council members largely supported the new TGL legislation and raised concerns and other questions.

Curliss, the only council member to vote against the excise tax changes for housing, said the legislation was “very criminal for all TGL owners,” arguing that the new $ 100 annual certificate fee did not match estimates of village costs for the collection of TGL taxes is connected. She also turned down the affordable housing reduction fee, saying it could lead to a reliance on that funding source and background checks, which she believed could be “onerous”.

“I don’t like that approach. I want to stop. I will vote against it, ”she said of the property tax changes.

Curliss, however, supported the changes to the zone code and added several changes, including one requiring off-street parking for each two-person TGL unit and the requirement for the zoning administrator to provide information about unoccupied TGLs to Greene’s auditor Send County. Whoever said her might consider the property a commercial establishment and be subject to additional taxes.

Eventually, Curliss turned down the new affordable housing fund and voted against its creation. He said he is bringing the village closer to creating an “affordable housing department.” The rest of the council voted in favor.

In response to Curliss’ comments, village workers defended the $ 100 fee to track down those who fail to pay their housing tax on time. They said background checks can be done within days and are only required every three years, saying that the village would consider affordable housing grants from the fund “project after project”.

Councilor Lisa Kreeger said she is in favor of limiting TGLs that are not operators, and the fees are a great way to do that.

“I think charges are one way of stifling the growth of these, and I don’t see any other solution right now that fulfills the desire to limit this type of temporary accommodation in the village,” she said.

Councilor Kevin Stokes expressed support for the measures but suggested offering a “fee break” to non-operator TGL owners living elsewhere in Yellow Springs.

“Would it be legal and not exclusive to give preference to residents?” he asked.

When asked, Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels replied that it was possible, but that both cases were a “substantial change” and that the legislation would not be finalized at the meeting. The idea will be considered at a later date, councilors said.

Council vice-president Marianne MacQueen said she was “tired of talking about the measure” and hopes the council will do more to improve affordable housing in the city beyond the TGL limit.

“This does not solve the problem with affordable housing. The problem of affordable housing and moderate housing is solved by building more, ”she said. MacQueen later stated that the village needed 200 or 300 more rental units.

Housh added that the council will continue to work on the issue of affordable housing and the impact of Airbnbs.

“Big cities have to do with it, small cities have to deal with it, too,” he said. “We are examining all the strategies that are required to deal with it.”

Resident, TGL owner commented

Local residents and TGL owners spoke about Zoom on both sides of the subject during the public hearings.

The TGL owners Keith Grzelak and Thea Tremain spoke out against the measures. They run two Airbnbs on their downtown property, which is where they live. Since they already have their TGL permits, Grzelak and Tremain would have a grandfather. However, new certificate fees of USD 100 per TGL would be charged for them.

Grzelak argued that their TGLs should be regulated differently as they are in the central business district rather than a residential area. He added that if he were to use his rooms for commercial purposes he would “not be punished” as he would if he were a new TGL applicant.

“If we were to do business with this it would be off-market rentals,” he said.

Tremain argued that a local housing shortage was a “long-term problem” and that running an Airbnb helped her and her family afford living in Yellow Springs.

Eric Clark, who runs an Airbnb from a unit on his property, argued that TGLs have a “symbiotic relationship” with the village and serve an important role for visitors visiting local businesses and visiting families in town. He added that these visitors are now being accused of “ruining the village”.

April Li, who recently received a second TGL permit for a property she owns with Mark Davenport, also spoke out against the measures. The couple do not live on the property and are therefore subject to annual fees of $ 2,000 for each TGL.

Li introduced herself as a “first generation immigrant” who stands out for “what this city stands for, namely inclusion and equality”. She said the Airbnbs are helping them get their mortgage, taxes and utilities, and that they hope to live in the village one day. Li added that the new legislation “creates grounds for unfair competition” and she doesn’t think Airbnbs is causing a housing shortage here.

“Blaming Airbnb is making things easier,” Li said.

Resident Jessica Thomas-Raska spoke out in favor of the measures and stricter limits and said that contrary to some claims by TGL operators, Airbnbs has a negative impact on affordable housing, including in the village.

“I also know people in Yellow Springs who have been evicted or whose leases have not been renewed because their landlord wanted to turn their house or apartment into a TGL. So I think it is dishonest to say that this has no impact on housing conditions in Yellow Springs, ”said Thomas-Raska.

Thomas-Raska added that properties now being used for TGLs could instead house people who wish to live here permanently, including young families whose children may be attending local schools.

“If we don’t have young families moving into the village, we can’t fill this school,” she said of a possible new school facility.

Reilly Dixon made similar arguments, citing studies showing that TGLs are associated with rising rental and housing costs. He wants the village to limit the number of TGLs to the current level and for the village to focus more on the needs of young people like himself and his partner who are soon looking for a home to start their families in.

“We hear a lot from Airbnb owners. What about the rest of us who don’t own property and don’t take advantage of soaring tourism rates every weekend? ” he said.

Kate Hamilton also said she thought the measures didn’t go far enough and wanted to limit the number of TGLs. Too many TGLs, she added, could ruin the narrow aspects of the community that bring people to the city in the first place.

“With TGLs, you’re pretty much ruining a city,” said Hamilton.

Additional items from the Council’s agenda on May 3 will be published in next week’s news.