City Council moves forward on short term vacation rental guideli - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City Council moves forward on short term vacation rental guidelines

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Savannah City Council is moving forward with guidelines for short term vacation rentals, an industry that was generally unregulated in the city.

On Thursday city council members heard specific proposals on how to regulate short term vacation rentals, and more specifically, where they will be located.

"I think they're excellent," said City Council member Mary Ellen Sprague. "I think it's time we regulated this industry, that we understood that it's here and it's operating in Chatham County and that we put some rule and ordinances to go around it."

For the first time since this discussion began, council members and the Metropolitan Planning Commission are looking at specific ways to regulate a growing industry in Savannah, short term vacation rentals, which is an entire swelling that can be rented for up to 30 days.

The proposals include requiring these property owners to pay the annual business tax, along with the monthly hotel/motel taxes, making the industry a level playing field for the inns and bed and breakfasts already paying this.

The ordinance would require a short term rental certificate and a code compliance certificate.

Another major component of regulating this industry is designating where these short term rentals are allowed, and the MPC proposes allowing them in mostly the same areas an inn would be allowed, meaning not in a neighborhood that is strictly residential.

And with several complaints, the Downtown Neighborhood Association fully supports these recommendations.

"We support the ordinance," said Robert McAllister of the DNA. "We think it's a good beginning. I think we need to be very supportive in trying this. Seeing if it will work, and if it doesn't work, well let's try something else, but we feel like it's a very good step in the right direction."

These proposals will have to go back to the MPC before coming back to the city council for a vote.

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