Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan watched the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on the proposed short term rental ordinance on Wednesday, March 1 and had some comments.

Greensboro currently has no ordinance that specifically regulates short term rentals such as those popularized by Airbnb and VRBO.  Currently, the Planning Department is attempting to regulate this growing industry by using the ordinance regulating tourist homes and bed and breakfast establishments, but that ordinance doesn’t fit with the Airbnb- and VRBO-type short term rentals that are becoming increasingly popular.

The City Council discussed the need to regulate short term rentals in March 2022 and held a second discussion on the proposed ordinance on Jan. 26.  The proposed ordinance that was unanimously recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission following the public hearing on March 1 is scheduled to come before the City Council on March 21.

Vaughan said, “I do think there is a basic misunderstanding that we are doing this ordinance to allow short term rentals, but they are here and growing every day.  This is an opportunity to regulate them.”

She said, “We’re trying to find a way to establish some accountability.”

Vaughan noted that there were a number of comments about the regulations passed by other cities in the state and noted, “Charlotte did not go through with its ordinance in light of the Shroeder decision.”

The North Carolina Court of Appeals in Schroeder v. City of Wilmington ruled that the registration and lottery provisions of the Wilmington short term rental ordinance were invalid, but the decision did uphold portions of the ordinance.  The trial court had thrown out the entire ordinance.

Vaughan said that based on the Schroeder decision, “We might be able to put in a spacing requirement.”

Vaughan added, “The whole idea of the public forum was to get public input and now we’ll see if the ordinance can be tweaked a bit.”

Vaughan also noted that many of the complaints were about corporations buying homes and she said, “We’re not able to control that at all.”

Vaughan agreed with some of the speakers who said the penalties, which start at $50 for a violation and go up to $500, were not severe enough.  She said that the penalty structure could certainly be changed.

Vaughan said, “Between now and when the ordinance comes before council, we will continue to look at how we can modify it and still give it some teeth.”