The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

Council Tables Short-Term Rental Decision


September 22, 2016

The Brevard City Council has decided to again table a decision on a proposed short-term rental ordinance after a change in the state statute that would disallow local governments to require owners to obtain permits to operate.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, city attorney Michael Pratt informed the council that state legislators made a change in the statute, banning local governments to require a permit to operate a short-term rental.

After months of discussion, including several rounds of public input regarding the issue, Councilman Maurice Jones suggested tabling a decision until the council’s retreat this winter.

“It would give us more time to settle in on our decision,” Jones said.

Jones pointed to the fact that short-term rentals would still be able to operate as they already are within city limits.

Mayor Jimmy Harris was upset by the delay.

“It’s frustrating for us,” he said.

Pratt said any movement had been put on hold because he had learned of a potential change in the state statute.

“I wanted to contact the League of Municipalities and find out more info about that statute,” Pratt said. “The legislature has taken the power away from cities.”

Pratt said the ordinance still allowed for municipalities to regulate and decide if short-term rentals would be allowed. However, requiring a permit was not allowed.

All references of permitting were removed from the proposed ordinance.

Planning Director Daniel Cobb presented the changes in the ordinance and said the city had several options, including tabling it, which they ultimately did.

The other options included the city changing the ordinance to prohibit short-term rentals in all cases; and approving the ordinance as is, which included requirements and prohibited short-term rentals in general industrial zoning areas. The council also could have made changes and passed the ordinance.

Cobb referenced state statute NCGS-160a-424c, saying it would make the city’s job more difficult if it began having to regulate the rentals.

“It would make enforcement and regulating them challenging,” Cobb said.

In other items:

•Charles Merrill was recognized for his 38 years of service with the Brevard Fire Department. Fire Chief Craig Budzinski presented Merrill, with his wife by his side, with a plaque of appreciation. More than a dozen fellow firefighters, along with family members, were in the audience.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve,” Merrill said, after receiving the plaque.

Harris presented Merrill with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for his proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

“I have known Charles Merrill to be a man of impeccable reputation,” Harris said.

Merrill has worked as a firefighter, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, training officer and safety officer with the Brevard Fire Department.

•Two ordinances were amended to meet state requirements, based on several statute changes.

First, the maximum number of beehives allowed by a Brevard city resident was increased from four to five. Additionally, council amended its ordinance regarding invasive species to include several invasive species that had not been included on the list.

•Council delayed hearing information on the Pisgah Small Area Plan, which the city has explored to help make the intersection of U.S. 276 and Asheville Highway friendlier to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

•Emmett Casciato announced a special Armed Forces exhibit, titled “Operation Armed Forces,” which will display memorabilia from various wars that will go on display on Oct. 22 in the lobby of the Aethelwold building in Brevard.


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