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Public Hearing On Short-Term Rentals Set For Monday

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Louisville's planning commission is calling a public hearing to get input on proposed zoning regulations for short-term rentals.

The proposed regulations deal largely with units rented online via sites like Airbnb, FlipKey and VBRO.

City staffers last month presented a proposal to the commission that would allow such units in all residential zoning districts, with some stipulations. The commission members weren't satisfied with the proposal and peppered city planners with questions about parking and inspections of the units.

The Louisville Metro Council — after months of meetings — approved a series of ordinances late last year to regulate the burgeoning industry.

Registration fees, capacity limits and certain safety protocols set forth by the council are set to take effect in June. Council members also called on the planning commission to determine where the short-term rental units will be permitted to operate.

The proposed regulations presented to the planning commission drew ire from some.

Land-use attorney Steve Porter called the proposed regulations too broad and said if approved, they would fail to meet the unique needs of individual neighborhoods.

“One neighborhood might say, ‘we’ve got parking all over the place, no problem,'” he said. “Another might say, ‘our biggest problem is parking.'”

Porter, who has represented bed-and-breakfast owners opposing the expansion of short-term rentals, said each unit should be required to go before the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment for a conditional-use permit before being allowed to operate. He said he’s concerned allowing short-term rentals anywhere could change the character of neighborhoods.

Supporters dismiss that notion.

Faith Hope Yascone owns a handful of short-term rental units in Old Louisville. She said it’s unlikely entire neighborhoods would be overrun by short-term rental units.

“If it does, it was not a neighborhood that was ever viable in the first place,” she said.

She fears too many restrictions could stifle a growing sector of economic development in the city.

The public hearing is set for Monday at 6:30 p.m. at 514 W. Liberty Street in downtown Louisville.

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Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.