Saying they have heard the concerns of residents, county staff assured they are working as quickly as possible to combat large special events being held in residential areas at rental homes.
For the second consecutive County Board of Commissioners meeting, residents have aired their concerns during public comments, and County Administrator Steve Rapson updated progress on finding a solution.
As Airbnb and similar home rental sites grow increasingly popular across the nation, government entities are trying to keep pace with their regulations, with large parties a particular problem. With an estimated 75 to 100 Airbnb-type facilities operating in the unincorporated county alone, and roughly 45-50 different sites for properties to be posted on, it can be hard to catch events in advance.
“It’s very easy to locate when the party is going, but a lot of this is advertised,” said Rapson.
As such, Fayette County has interviewed three potential vendors to data mine and help the county be proactive, and, because the trend is new, the county will work with expert outside advisors to put an appropriate ordinance into place.
Rapson’s best advice to residents troubled by loud parties at rental parties is to not wait to report them to the property authorities because there are already noise ordinance and traffic impediment rules in place that can be enforced.
“The best way to shut these things down is when they’re occurring,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with telling your neighbor that he’s too loud and he needs to settle down.”
Helping get an unapproved event shut down could do more to deter future plans than government regulations.
“When an event gets shut down and you’ve invited a hundred people to show up and they get on Airbnb and they talk about ‘I would never rent this house again,’ that probably has much more impact than I’m ever going to have in the court system in regards to shutting that type of thing down,” said Rapson.
Commissioner Eric Maxwell asked for patience as staff works to tackle the issues.
“It just takes forever to get things done sometimes, and that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to do something,” he said. “Whatever we end up doing, we have to do it so down the road we don’t end up getting challenged on something that we did quickly.
“There’s a lot of interest up here (on the dais), but we’re kind of handcuffed until we get advice on what to do.”
Rapson noted that, because the problem is even bigger for cities, the ordinance will created to be easy for cities to piggyback onto.