The Fayette County Neighborhood Council will hold a general meeting/work session Monday, February 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., to prepare a response to legislation currently under Council review to regulate Short-Term Rentals (including those on hosting platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo). We will meet at Tates Creek Christian Church (3150 Tates Creek Road). When entering from Albany Road, park at the far rear of the church.
Short-term rentals are increasingly frequent in Lexington and changing rapidly. Such rentals are somewhat regulated by the city (in the form of a state transient room tax and a substantial local tax on top of the state rate). However, Lexington’s regulation of short-term rentals lags behind the actions of other cities, and these proposed regs being considered are designed to make our ordinances more effective in protecting our neighborhoods as well as to maintain the source of revenue that they provide. Additional specific information follows.
All FCNC member neighborhoods and their individual members are invited to take part in this working group to go through the draft regulations in a broad and balanced deliberation. Your voice is needed. We will
· discuss the legislation part by part,
· talk about concerns,
· formulate changes to recommend, and
· see where there is common ground.
If your neighborhood is not a current FCNC member, you are welcome just the same. We can take care of your membership at registration as the meeting begins. If you don’t have an active association for your neighborhood right now, you are not alone; many neighborhoods have flagged during the pandemic years. Come and ask about taking steps to get one started again and bring your ideas to the Short-Term Rental discussion.
If you desire additional information about Short Term Rentals, please review as much or as little as you wish of the material that follows after my signature and bring your thoughts to the meeting.
I look forward to hearing your ideas on February 13 and preparing our responses to the Council as neighborhoods together.
Walt Gaffield, President
Fayette County Neighborhood Council, Inc.
Current ordinances proposed to be amended are HERE.
Two new pieces of legislation were drafted for Council consideration in 2022. On November 29, the Council Planning and Public Safety Committee (PPS) held a Special Meeting on Short-Term Rentals to review this proposed legislation and take public comment. You can view the materials that were presented on November 29 HERE. They include four parts:
a slide-show introduction,
a summary, and
the two parts of the new legislation:
the Municipal Code, which regulates business licensing, regulations, taxes, and fees and
the Zoning Ordinance, that regulates which zones allow such rentals, and includes definitions: rules like the number of occupants, length of stay, whether the host must be in residence, Board of Adjustment permits and conditions, etc.
You can also watch the entire 2.5 hour meeting video HERE (The meeting video is seen by scrolling through the material under the picture on the left of this link. Scroll down to “1232-22 Presentation: Short-Term Rental Proposal.” Ignore the error code on the right side of the screen.) and see what others have told the Council.
After hearing from the public on November 29 (and in letters beforehand), the Council directed the committee to revise the legislation linked above. It is the November 29 version of the regulations linked above that FCNC will discuss with your participation at our meeting on February 13. If Council proposes changes to the November proposals before our February 13 meeting, we will email those to you promptly.
What’s coming: The November 29 revisions are targeted to be discussed next in Council committee meeting, on March 7 at 1:00 p.m. (a technicality: the longstanding Planning and Public Safety Committee this year is called the General Government and Planning Committee). After that, the legislation may go directly back to the Council as a whole for immediate action, or it may see further committee deliberation and changes. The Zoning part will need to go through the LFUCG Planning Commission before final Council adoption.
It is important for all our neighborhoods to take part in the process prior to the March 7 meeting. Council Member Preston Worley, new chair of the committee, has indicated that (following established Council rules) public comment will not be admitted during the committee meeting, so anything that needs to be said should be sent to Councilmembers well before March 7. Such comment is what FCNC hopes to contribute as a result of our February general meeting.
A Summary Statement:
We know short-term rentals are big. To judge from the transient room taxes paid to the city from Airbnb and Vrbo alone, short-term rental enterprises last year collected over $11 million in room rates throughout Fayette County. Reckonings of the actual number of persons or companies in Lexington offering short-term lodging, and their earnings, vary widely. What locations are right for them in Lexington, and what limits are needed? What needs do such rentals meet, and what other needs in the larger community must we respect in conjunction with them? What regulations can be well enforced, and which may prove meaningless? Is it possible to keep regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units (second, independent dwelling units permitted on single-family lots—an issue likely to be addressed by the Council in April) distinct from Short-Term Rental regulation, and find good, effective provisions for each? These are big questions, and not always easy to answer. Let’s see what our neighborhoods can come up with, together.
Sent by Janet Cabaniss, FCNC Secretary