Decatur mayor admits violating city’s short-term rental ordinance

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) – Decatur’s mayor is facing a backlash after he was caught violating the city’s ban on short-term rentals.

WAFF partner newspaper the Decatur Daily discovered Mayor Tab Bowling was running a short-term rental and listed it on Airbnb and Vrbo.

Reviews on the listing show it was rented from August or September. It was also around the same time that the city council began discussing easing the ban on short-term rentals in the city.

When the Decatur Daily asked Mayor Bowling about his Airbnb, he acknowledged it and said he will have to deal with the backlash.

“Obviously it’s going to end up being embarrassing,” Bowling said. “I may have to stop until this order is resolved. It’s probably not going to be received with much favor. I’ll have to figure it out and take care of it.

Councilman Jacob Ladner told WAFF 48 he believes Bowling’s actions were unethical.

“Leaders within the city, we are all called to a higher standard, and we must show our citizens the way to obey the laws on the books,” he said.

Ladner told WAFF 48’s Matthew King that the city council has already begun potentially changing city codes to allow short-term rentals. He said it could happen as early as early 2023.

“It’s more of an outdated zoning ordinance,” he said. “Short-term rentals are relatively new to the scene, especially here in Decatur. I think people have been using them for a long time when visiting the beach or other things, but it just hasn’t been addressed.

Click here to read more about the story in the Decatur Daily.

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