Laurel City Council Passes Airbnb Ordinance
LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) – Business and tourism have boomed over the past year in Laurel, forcing more and more people to travel to the beautiful city.
“People want to come to Laurel to see Laurel, Mississippi,” Mayor Johnny Magee said.
Last year, the city council opted against an ordinance to regulate Airbnbs, but now the council wants to regulate how short-term rentals operate inside city limits.
“We finally got to the point where we realized we had to do something to control Airbnbs, control where they were in the city,” Magee said.
Magee added that the main concern was to keep the same neighborhoods of single-family homes.
The council passed an order on first reading to limit the number of Airbnbs allowed in a residential area.
“You can have an Airbnb in your main house,” Magee said. “If you have a separate structure behind your house, which many Historic District neighborhoods do, you can have another Airbnb in one of the houses behind your main house.”
The council also discovered that some residents already have more than one Airbnb on their property, but they are not going to interfere with them. These residents therefore have an exception to the rule and will be allowed to keep them.
However, all residents wishing to have an Airbnb will have to pay an annual fee.
This ordinance coincides with the hotel and tourist tax approved at the beginning of June.
“We have also adopted a 3% tax on hotels; we will also collect from Airbnbs at 3%, which will go towards tourism in the town of Laurel,” Magee said. “It will also go towards, parts of it may go towards, the operation of the wellness centre, the visitor centre, which is going to be built on Leontyne Boulevard.”
The second and final reading of the Ordinance will take place on August 16 at 9 a.m.
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