Southport owners speak out on proposed vacation rental restrictions

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) – The City of Southport is considering new rules that could seriously limit the ability to rent homes on short notice, holding a public hearing at a town planning council meeting Thursday night.

According to the city, more than 100 homes are listed as vacation rentals, both through websites like AirBnb and property management companies.

Although these landlords currently have the right to rent, some neighbors say this is causing a nuisance.

“I have to put up with the noise, the cars, the trash and the security of my property, and the properties are not maintained,” said Tracy Beaulieu.

“We’ve had boozy nights, we’ve had turn signals, young girls if you can believe it,” Tommy Harrelson said.

Under the proposed ordinance, homes in residential neighborhoods would now be banned from participating. Existing rental units would have acquired rights, but would be disqualified if they were ever sold.

However, those who oppose the restrictions believe that the rentals actually benefit neighbors and the value of their property.

“Houses that have been abandoned for years are bought and renovated for short-term rental,” said Rebecca Kelley. “So instead of having a house that starts to fold in on itself, we now have a house that contributes to our community and is part of the fabric of Southport.”

Some also argue that the rental ban would be another blow to the local economy after COVID-19 hurt tourism and canceled the annual July 4 festival.

“Fewer tourists equals less sales for these businesses, but it also means less tax dollars that this city needs to operate for future infrastructure projects,” said Lucinda Arnold.

The planning council chose not to make a decision based on the comments and will revisit the matter next month.

You can read the prescription here.

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