Editorial: Kure Beach Clamping Down On Vacation Rentals

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 18 February 2015 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Kure Beach Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a special meeting on March 4th (See report on page 1-A) to consider a proposed ordinance governing vacation rentals.
The ordinance defines what a short-term "vacation rental" is and goes to great lengths to dictate and control the number of people that can occupy a "vacation rental" safely and not to the detriment of surrounding residents quality of life.
Many homes in Kure Beach are investment properties that are rented as vacation rental homes during the busy summer months. Some times those properties are advertised and rented to accommodate more people than would commonly occupy a residential property. This leads to complaints about cars parked along the street side, loud parties and other issues. One part of the ordinance states, "Vacation home owners and their agents shall expressly provide in their rental agreements that a vacation home shall not be used by tenants to engage in commercial activities including, without limitation, weddings, receptions, and large parties."
That particular portion of the proposed ordinance is problematic, vague and opens the door for all sorts of legal challenges.
One section of the ordinance sets limits on the "maximum number of overnight occupants" while in another section it essentially defines any type of "large parties" as commercial activity and doesn't define the term "large" which means the restriction is vague and open to very subjective interpretation by whomever is enforcing the ordinance any given day of the week. Not to mention the fact that the ordinance restricts a family gathering of five or ten people from holding a small wedding ceremony at the beach, yet the full time residents living two doors down will not be subjected to the same rules for a similar size gathering.
Requiring vacation rental companies to include this broad reaching and overly vague prohibition in their rental agreements will likely scare off some people seeking to spend thousands of dollars a week for accommodations. Those who will not want the hassle when Jane Smith down the street gets ticked off that they had a family reunion party and she didn't like the smoke from the BBQ grill and calls the law and a ticket is issued.
It's a tall order to govern such a complicated issue and something does need to be done to promote quality of life for residents and general public health and safety. To do that is not an easy task and perhaps the ordinance needs a little more precise language and another examination before banning weddings, receptions and "large parties." There are other ways to control noise and parking in those situations.

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