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CoastLine is a variety news show, which airs Wednesdays from 12pm - 1pm on WHQR.Every week, we’ll look into issues that matter in the Cape Fear Region. Host Rachel Lewis Hilburn will interview expert guests and invite you to join the conversation.

CoastLine: Short Term Rental Policy Proposal Takes Shape In Wilmington As Stakeholders Battle

Wilmington_Riverwalk_and_downtown.jpeg
Jason W. Smith via Wikimedia Commons
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The Wilmington Riverwalk in North Carolina along the Cape Fear River with downtown Wilmington in the background.

Short term rentals:  they’re those properties that are rented out by an owner to vacationers or tourists -- often for a week, a few weeks, or a few days.  Vacation Rental By Owner ( VRBO) and Airbnb are two of the most popular websites for these types of rentals.  While the industry provides a stream of income to property owners and more options for tourists, neighbors of short-term rentals across the country are asking municipalities to create regulations governing the business.  Some neighbors are in favor of outright bans of short-term rentals. 

It’s not an easy issue – as we learn on this edition of CoastLine.  The question of whether and how to regulate this industry raises all kinds of complicated issues around property rights and zoning.  And there’s research to support both sides of the argument. 

The City of Wilmington has been holding public meetings since last year to get stakeholder input.  The next meeting at which the Planning Commission will look at a draft of staff's policy proposal on July 12th in City Council Chambers at 4 PM.  It's a public meeting, although no public input will be accepted at that meeting.  A public hearing will be scheduled after that meeting to get stakeholder input on the proposal. 

Guests: 

Phoebe Bragg, President of Residents of Old Wilmington, a coalition of neighbors in Wilmington’s downtown historic district

Natalie David, Chair of Wilmington Host, an organization formed in 2016 that advocates FOR short-term rentals

Christine Hughes, Senior Planner, City of Wilmington

Resources:

http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/departments/city-manager/short-term-rentals

Residents of Old Wilmington:  http://www.rowilmington.org/

Wilmington Host:  http://www.wilmingtonhost.org/