Legislation Update from CW Allen

posted Nov 10, 2014, 4:00 PM by Jason Eiceman
Below was sent by Council member Burkley Allen:

To all the people interested in the Short Term Rental Property (STRP) legislation,

I appreciate all the folks who have come to the community meetings, e-mailed me, met with me, and spoken at the council public hearing.  That has provided important input that I have been working to incorporate in a way that works for Nashville.  It seems that everyone agrees that the STRP phenomenon is benefiting Nashville as an alternative to hotels and as a way to bring visitors to the smaller commercial districts to spread our “It City” prosperity beyond downtown.  The speakers at the public hearing made a strong case that the properties have to be well maintained to stay in business, and that the guests have to have a good behavior track record to be accepted.

I want to give you an update on the status of the legislation.  The biggest issues that have come up during all the conversations are the limits on ownership, size, and number of occupants, and the impact on neighborhoods.  In response to those concerns, several changes have been made.  First the limit on ownership has been removed and replaced by a geographic limitation on non-owner occupied STRP in single family residential areas.  The limit of 3% of the single family detached homes in each census tract allows flexibility of location and has room for growth in the most popular areas.  There is no limit on the number of permits in commercial, mixed use, or downtown code zoning districts, and there is no limit on the number of owner occupied STRP’s anywhere.  This should allow a framework where homeowners can supplement their income, and neighborhoods can sustain the stability and community that makes them appealing places to live in and to visit.

Based on information that most groups arrive by plane and share vehicles, the number of occupants has been adjusted to 2 adults per sleeping room plus four.  The number of sleeping rooms has been increased to four.  This should allow 95% of the existing STRP’s to continue operating as they have been.  Parking of cars is a perceived concern, but since there have been no complaints about parking to date, we can adjust later if that becomes an actual issue.  As other cities have done, Nashville can create an overlay process for the 5 bedroom and larger properties so that the impact on surrounding homes can be taken into account as part of the permit process.
Several Metro departments have also weighed in on the bill.  At the request of the fire marshal’s office, a requirement for working smoke detectors in each bedroom has been added.  This is a requirement for every house that is built, and it is known to save lives.  Approved smoke detectors cost about $15 so this should not be burdensome.

At the request of the Planning department the legislation has been separated into two bills.  The definition of STRP and what zoning districts they are allowed in remain in the original bill that deals with Title 17 (Zoning) of the Metro Code.  All the conditions for obtaining a permit are in a new companion bill dealing with Title 6.  The companion bill will be on first reading on November 18.  Those conditions are the same ones debated at the last council meeting with the exceptions of the changes described here.  I am attaching both bills, and both will be public record.
At the request of the Codes Department the date of implementation has been set at March 31 to allow them time to get good permit information and documentation in place.  Enforcement will not begin until July 1.  That should give everyone time to register and make any adjustments needed.

I believe this addresses the major concerns.  It has taken a fair amount of research into emerging best practices and reality checks on what is doable and enforceable with the Metro system.  I appreciate the engagement of everyone in the process, and I welcome questions and comments.

Regards,

Burkley Allen
Metro Council 18th District
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Jason Eiceman,
Nov 10, 2014, 4:00 PM
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Jason Eiceman,
Nov 10, 2014, 4:00 PM
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