July 20, 2017 City Council Regular Meeting
Motion to Amend the Short-term Vacation Rental Ordinance

In early 2017, the City launched a process to address concerns about the growing short-term vacation rental industry’s impact on residents and the community. The goal was to examine the use, identify issues, and propose mutually agreed upon revisions to the existing regulations. The process did not focus on expanding the use, nor did it focus on the rental of a bedroom in an owner-occupied home, referred to as a bed and breakfast homestay. It only considered the rental of an entire dwelling unit in the areas where the use is currently permitted.

Individual meetings were held with stakeholders to include the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Victorian Neighborhood Association and Mid-City District. Additional meetings were held with Share Savannah, which represents five local short-term vacation rental management companies; Short-Term Vacation Rental Owners Association; Tourism Leadership Council and Expedia/HomeAway. Meetings were also held with concerned citizens about possible changes to the regulations.

In May and June, eight public meetings were held with representatives from the stakeholder groups and citizens with a total of 333 persons participating. Based on feedback from stakeholders, the City broke down the use into two key areas:

1.      Administrative enhancements focusing on the short-term vacation rental ordinance and methods to improve operations
2.      Growth management concentrating on the zoning regulations and methods to manage the growth of the use

The proposed changes to the Short-term Vacation Rental Ordinance reflect the administrative enhancements as agreed to by the stakeholders and include:
•       Requiring insurance documentation indicating the dwelling unit is used as a short-term vacation rental
•       Modifying exemplar rental agreement to include:

  • Maximum occupancy and off-street parking location
  • Post exemplar rental agreement in short-term vacation rental property

•       Posting exemplar rental agreement on any website where the short-term vacation rental property is advertised
•       Requiring the property owner of a condominium, as defined by State law, provide a copy of the condominium declaration approving the use of the premise for short-term rentals
•       Revising ordinance to notify owners of record who are adjacent to an initial short-term vacation rental. Certificates will not be issued until this process is completed and will be completed by the applicant.

Notification will include address of the proposed short-term rental, location of proposed on-site parking, occupancy requirements, copy of the short term vacation rental house policies, name of property owner, and name of rental agent company and contact information.



Bridget Lidy, Tourism and Ambassadorship Director
Financial Impact
Review Comments
Redline Revisions to Chapter 11 Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance.pdf
Revisions to Chapter 11 Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance.pdf
Agenda Plus