Bexley residents raised questions about a proposed ordinance that would ban Airbnb and other short-term rentals in the city Sept. 25 during Bexley City Council's discussion of the legislation.
Residents who spoke cited concerns about whether the legislation would prevent Bexley residents from hosting international exchange students and allowing family members or close friends to stay in their residences while they're away.
Councilman Tim Madison, chairman of council's Zoning, Development and Judiciary Committee, introduced Ordinance 23-18 on Aug. 28. The ordinance would prohibit residents from renting their houses for periods of less than 30 days.
The legislation exempts student dormitories and bed and breakfast establishments, including the Bexley Bed and Breakfast at 519 S. Drexel Ave.
Those who violate the ordinance could be fined up to $500 per day for each day of the prohibited short-term rental.
Council opted to table the ordinance Sept. 25 since Madison was absent due to a personal matter. While council did not take action on the legislation that day, members accepted public comments in anticipation of discussing the ordinance again at the panel's Oct. 9 meeting.
Sherwood Road resident Rich Terapak suggested that rather than outright ban short-term rentals, the city could put regulations in place.
"Other municipalities around the country have taken steps to limit it to only owner-occupants being allowed to 'Airbnb' their house, with a limit on number of days per year," Terapak said. "I think a reasonable amount would be 120."
South Cassady Avenue resident Jan Zupnick questioned whether the ordinance would result in Bexley residents being unable to host friends for short visits and also hamper residents from hosting international exchange students.
"Does the ordinance suggest that I don't have any right to allow non-family people into my house, even for free?" Zupnick asked.
Elm Avenue resident Nate Caplin suggested Bexley adopt similar regulations that the city of Columbus implemented in July for short-term rentals. Columbus regulations include establishing a citywide registration system for short-term rentals, requiring short-term rentals to pay Columbus' hotel tax, and establishing a system for residents who live near short-term rentals to report noise and parking issues.
"We already have ordinances on the books that just need to be enforced to address any kind of noise, nuisance or other issues," Caplin said.
The Oct. 9 council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.