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Bellevue, Edgewood to Tighten Short-Term Rental Rules

The cities of Bellevue and Edgewood are each poised to tighten regulations of short-term rentals, such as those provided by online platforms like Airbnb in which a property owner rents a room or a home for a short period of time like a hotel.

In Edgewood, city council listened to the first reading of an ordinance that has been months in the making. Edgewood's is related to any room or home rented for any period of time less than twenty-eight days.

The proposed ordinance, which will receive a vote at the next regular council meeting, specifies that no short-term rentals will be permitted in residential areas of the city unless the floor area of the rental unit is more than 25 percent of the total square footage of the finished living space, or if the rental portion is in a residence occupied by the owner during the rental.

The owner will need an occupational license during rentals.

In Bellevue, the proposed changes received more debate.

The original proposal put forth, pushed by Mayor Charlie Cleves, would mandate that any property with two or more short-term rental units would have to provide an off-street parking space for each unit.

Councilman Ryan Salzman moved to amend the proposal to reflect such a rule for property owners that have more than three short-term rental units.

A compromise resulted in the proposed ordinance reflecting three or more rental units would require a parking spot for each.

City administrator Frank Warnock explained that the city was moving to change the placement of short-term rental regulations from the zoning code to the city's ordinance code book.

"The reason I pushed for this strict of a regulation is because I'm hearing from people who say they're turning my neighborhood into something it's not supposed to be, or a hotel opened next to me," Mayor Cleves said. "It's not fair to a person who lives here and who pays the taxes.

"In the past, we would never let them put a hotel in our residential neighborhoods. They have to obey the rules and not wipe out all the parking in the neighborhoods.I think I owe it more to all these people out here than the person coming to Bellevue one or two times out of the year."

Warnock said the city counted about fifteen Airbnb units in the city.

"Seven we knew of and eight we didn't," Cleves said.

Councilman Sean Fisher said the city had a "well-thought out ordinance that was not being enforced by the city prior to this administration."

He served on an ad-hoc committee from the city's planning and zoning commission that examined the potential impact of short-term rentals in the city.

"That committee was brought up because we had homeowners here who were going to Florida for the winter," Fisher said. "The homeowner has to be there for more than half the year."

Cleves argued that six or seven units advertised were operated by owners who don't live in Kentucky.

The regulation that received a first reading, in addition to the parking rules, will require a permit from the city, requires that such rentals are only in attached single-family dwellings, detached dwellings, two-family homes, townhomes, and condos; forbids such rentals in bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, or senior housing; the property must be the owner's primary residence for at least 183 calendar days per year; a renter cannot stay for longer than 117 days; there must be a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector; no more than four occupants will be permitted per guest room; the property must be in compliance with all building codes; guests should have access to a kitchen; properties will be inspected before the issuance of a license; each property must display the ordinance prohibiting loud noise; and the owner must have liability insurance to cover guests.

"The point of this is to enable economic freedom," Fisher said. "I live on a street that doesn't have access to off-street parking. You can't put one through your alley. We will be confining their economic freedom if we do this," he said, referencing the original proposal requiring off-street parking for two or more units.

Though the first vote was nonbinding, and a second vote will be required, the proposal was supported in a vote by council members Salzman, Fisher, Pat Hogan, and Shauna Kruse. Councilmen Steve Guidugli and Scott Witte.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer and Michael Monks