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Taylor Mill AirBnb Upsets Neighbors, City Says It's Illegal

The Taylor Mill city commission wants to strengthen its ordinance against short-term rentals, most commonly used under the Airbnb brand.

One such rental opportunity in the city is causing neighbors concern.

Currently, short-term rentals are not permitted in Taylor Mill, but Airbnb.com features multiple listings.

A new ordinance recommended by Planning & Development Services of Kenton County and the Kenton County Planning Commission should help the city better enforce its rule.

However, there was concern about adopting the ordinance because of the seriousness of the possible penalties.

"The look on the people's faces when the twelve months in jail penalty was read, it was like they were going to the electric chair," said City Commissioner Phil Peace, who watched the Kenton County Planning Commission when the ordinance was presented.

City Attorney Frank Wichmann explained that the penalties were standard provision for an ordinance like that, and that they also typically list civil penalties, which usually start with fines, and criminal penalties that can include up to twelve months in jail.   

Wichmann told the commission that the criminal penalties could be removed from the ordinance, if desired.

The ordinance received its first reading, which means a vote will be needed at the next meeting. The commission asked to have the criminal penalties removed, but Mayor Dan Bell requested that the fines be higher. Instead of starting with fines of $100, $250, and then $500 per day, the ordinance includes language that has fines starting at $250, then $500, and then $750 per day.

Code enforcement officers would identify the violation three days in a row and then the fine would be $750 each day until the operation is stopped.

That's what a couple neighbors on Holly Ridge Court want to see happen.

Kim Wolf lives near a home listed for short-term rental via Airbnb. She claimed that the house was rented twenty nights out of a month recently. Neighbor Rick Schulte also complained and said neighbors are concerned about traffic and that they don't like having this business on the street.

The city commission agreed that a letter should be sent to the home asking that the Airbnb rentals stop.

City administrator Jill Bailey said the owner of the short-term rental contacted the city building asking for special consideration through the end of October. Peace said that if the ordinance is adopted in May it would become law on July 1, giving the homeowner sixty days.  

"The rules were there when they started the businesses," Peace said. "We're not changing the rules."

Covington, Newport, and Bellevue allow Airbnb properties to operate and a recent analysis showed that more than 7,000 guests stayed in the three cities. Covington was the third most popular city in Kentucky and Airbnb operators in that city $489,000.

Last year, Erlanger city council voted against allowing Airbnb rentals in that city.

Other notes:

The city will donate an unused ambulance to the Kenton County SWAT Team for use as a medical wagon.

Valley View Drive, Primrose Drive, Sunset Place, and the west side of Church Street are slated for repairs. Paul Michels & Sons submitted a low bid of $504,472 to put down new asphalt, curbs, gutters, and to remove tree stumps. Faye Drive, Church Street, Doris Drive, and the east side of Church street will be resurfaced.

A sidewalk grant sought by Mayor Bell five years ago may finally be on the way. The new sidewalk would go from the 5500 block of Taylor Mill Road to Saddlebrook Drive through a grant from the Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments. Engineer Robert Seitzinger said that the project is close to starting.

Mayor Bell said he was going to apply for another grant so that the sidewalk could continue from Saddlebrook to  Walnut Drive, in the downtown district of city.

"I may not be alive to see it," Bell joked, "but I want this project to be completed."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor