Short-term rental debate may be decided Tuesday

The years-old issue of short-term rentals – where dozens of properties have taken advantage of renting out properties for discerning visitors – may be fine tuned on Tuesday.

The City Council will conduct a special meeting Tuesday morning at 10:30 and the issue is scheduled for a vote during the council meeting Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

A total of the 16 permitted short-term rentals have operated in Biloxi, but 252 applications have been submitted in recent weeks as property owners seek to be approved ahead of the proposed new regulations, which could require all applications to face Planning Commission and City Council approval as a “conditional use.”

The recent applications are all in areas where a short-term rental would be as a right. A total of 27 have been approved since the new deliberations began, and others would be grandfathered, avoiding the “conditional use” designation but would face annual renewals and inspections.

At issue: Residents complaining about disruption to their homes or nearby condo units vs. the rights of developers and investors to pursue what they see as a burgeoning market.

“Short-term rental has become a very controversial issue, especially in the multi-family zones,” said Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel. “The interest we’re seeing today can be traced back to 2010, when the Land Development Ordinance was changed to allow short-term rentals in condos and apartment complexes – as a conditional use. This means that the applicant must comply with certain conditions; Planning Commission and City Council approval are also required.”

Added Creel: “In commercial zones, short-term rentals had been allowed without a conditional use, but the measure being discussed now would require the ‘conditional use’ process. It also should be noted that no short-term rentals are allowed in single-family residential zones, in the current or proposed regulations. The whole purpose is to protect the property rights of all.”
See the regulations on short-term rentals
Map: Short-term rentals, where and where not
The permitted short-term rentals, as of April 10, 2019
See the City Council agendas for Tuesday