Blue Ridge latest to approve ban on short-term rentals – WSB 95.5

One of North Georgia’s largest tourist cities becomes the latest to adopt restrictions on short-term rentals like those from Airbnb and VRBO.

Council voted 4-1 last week to ban short-term rentals within city limits, except those located in the central business district and those with commercial zoning. Rentals in unincorporated Fannin County are not affected.

“We have had concerns and we have had a few people wondering why there is so much traffic inside and outside some homes. This is how we found out that there are overnight rentals in these locations, ”Mayor Donna Whitener told Sandra Parrish of WSB.

Current rentals that have paid sales tax to the city for 12 consecutive months would be grandfathered and other homes could apply to the city for a waiver to allow it.


Homeowners like Richard Arnold complain that this takes away the rights of owners. He manages several Airbnb rentals and is concerned about the impact this will have on those owners’ ability to sell in the future.

“They can continue to rent their property because they have acquired rights because they have paid their municipal taxes on lodging. But it affects their ability to sell their property to someone who wants to do the same, ”he says.

Pam O’Dell, who heads the Short Term Rental Owners Association of Georgia, expects this to have a chilling effect on investors and tourism. She believes investors will no longer want to buy and renovate homes in the downtown area to rent them out.

“A lot of people love downtown Blue Ridge. It is a beautiful place and a lot of downtown people have worked long and hard to make it so. That’s what attracts people. And if you don’t have a place to stay, that’s a problem, ”she says.

Whitener has until the end of this week to sign the order or veto it, which she likely says.

“We are not trying to cause hardship for anyone, but we also want to protect our residents. We have residents with major concerns. They want to know who their neighbors are, ”she said.

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