Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brunswick GA Mulls New Rental Rules

By ANNA FERGUSON HALL The Brunswick News

The Glynn County Commission is piecing together an ordinance to address noise and other problems that tend to pop up at short-term rental properties that are used to host festive occasions.

The commission is pondering new rules following complaints from homeowners in East Beach on St. Simons Island. Residents complain that parties and events held at short-term rental properties often become a nuisance to the neighborhood.

There's noise at all hours of the day and night, as well as parking problems and traffic issues.

County Attorney Aaron Mumford proposed a draft of a short-term rental ordinance to the commission Tuesday at a work session.

Under the ordinance, property owners who rent apartments, condominiums, town homes and houses for less than 30 days would be subject to a series of regulations and fees. Among other things, they would have to obtain a short-term rental license within 90 days of the ordinances passing, a home inspection and an event permit if a wedding, social engagement or other gathering is planned.

The ordinance is in its infancy and is far from becoming the law of the land, stressed Glynn County Commission Chair Tom Sublett.

Setting a maximum number of people a rental can accommodate for an event, as well as setting noise limits and establishing appropriate fees for applying for licenses and an inspection, are major issues to be hammered out, Sublett said.

The county also will have to figure out how to enforce the measures and set penalties for breaking them, said Commissioner Richard Strickland.

"We obviously still have a lot of work left to do," said Sublett, adding that the board would seek additional input from homeowner associations, Realtors and property managers before passing any final regulations.

The county hopes to have the rules in place by the end of March, before the busy spring and summer tourist seasons, Sublett said.

Bob Kelly, president of the East Beach Homeowners Association, understands that the measure faces revisions before it's adopted. However, he said, the sooner the regulations can go into place, the better.

It's common, both Kelly and East Beach homeowner Mike Aspinwall said that neighbors in their area rent out homes for wedding and parties. Often, the parties get loud and cause disturbances for them and their families.

Something needs to be done to curb such instances, they said.

"If this happened once or twice a year, that's one thing," Kelly said. "But this is a continual problem. This draft is a good first step."

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