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Athens-Clarke County Commissioners Gear Up for Heated Debate on Short-Term Rentals Regulation

Rafael Henrique
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Look for a lively, and possibly lengthy, discussion tonight when Athens-Clarke County commissioners discuss short-term rentals and a proposal to regulate them.

A new amendment to the county’s code addressing short-term rentals – like those marketed on AirBnB and VRBO – was passed earlier this month by the county’s planning commission. ACC commissioners are expected to discuss the issue tonight in advance of an expected vote on February 6.

The Planning Commission’s proposal would divide short-term rentals into two types: owner-occupied and commercial. In order to fit into the owner-occupied category, the owner of the property would have to live onsite and no more than 25 percent of the property could be rented out. Owner-occupied short-term rentals would also require a permit, but would be allowed through much of the county.

Commercial short-term rentals would face more stringent requirements, and would not be allowed in single-family residential neighborhoods.

The issue of short-term rentals has been a vexing one for local lawmakers in recent years, as the number of STRs in Athens has exploded. Some Athenians say that short-term rentals, especially those which would fit into the commercial category, have negative effects on the quality of life in many neighborhoods, and cause problems with noise and parking.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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