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Residential Real Estate

Sept. 14 – Support for Zoning Change re: Rentals in Owner-Occupied Homes to be shown at MPC says petitioner

Category: Residential Real Estate

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

September 14, 2016 – A group of citizens have organized over the summer to garner support for a proposed zoning change that would allow them to rent a home in their homes.

Resident Susan Trimble is the official applicant for this zoning text amendment regarding Single Room Rentals in Owner-Occupied Homes in R-6 districts. She began the campaign with an online petition, and a willingness to listen to all sides on the issue as posts were made by residents in support and opposed, a petition shared around the City through a number of neighborhood association websites and Facebook sites.

Supporters plan to attend the Sept. 20 meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) at which the amendment will be considered.

The majority of the neighborhoods in Savannah’s ‘Midtown’ area are zoned R-6.  Current zoning does not allow rentals of less than 30 days.  The supporters are seeking ‘Vacation rentals,’ defined as where the owner is not living at the property.

Supporters explain that the majority of bookings would go through Airbnb, and similar websites.

“Area home owners should have the right to rent a single room in their own home, as a means of extra income while also giving visitors a comfortable, safe place to stay,” believes Daniel vonHerrmann, who has also been active in sharing the petition, and working on the effort.

“Along with your presence, it would be a great benefit to have as many of you as possible speak in support,” she writes to those who have elected to receive updates on the issue.

“I, as the applicant, will present the request to the commissioners and then they open the floor for comments.  Any attendee who has signed in, filled out a card to speak, and handed it to a staff person before the meeting, will be able to speak for approximately 3 minutes. The more supporters who stand up and speak, the better our chances of getting our amendment passed,” she explains.  She believes that support for the amendment is stronger that local officials realize.

“Local taxpayers and homeowners such as you want this zoning change. In the past, the commissions heard of complaints against the change and think such is the majority’s opinion. Your words will help erase this false impression,” she writes those in the email and Facebook community on the issue.

“The intent is for the City of Savannah to revise and update the 1960’s zoning regulations for our district to enable us to rent a room in our own home, earn an extra income, and provide a welcoming atmosphere to visitors. This request is not for vacation rentals as it specifies that the owner is on the premises,” she states.

The MPC meeting is Sept. 20 at Sept. 20, Tuesday, at 1:30 pm, at 112 State Street, Savannah, GA, 31401. The meeting is open to the public.  

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