Allowance sought for short-term rental of home in residential neighborhood

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The owner of a home that had been recently listed as an Airbnb short-term rental home is planning to request approval to resume renting the home from the Board of Adjustments.

Matt West had previously had home on Spradley Dr. listed on the website of Airbnb, a company that operates an online marketplace to lease or rent short-term lodging.

After discovering that West did not have a business license to operate, the City of Troy sent a cease and desist letter.

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Now he must go before the Board of Adjustments if he is to have a chance to again open the home’s doors to guests seeking a short-term stay.

West said he was hoping to get on the agenda for the August meeting, but will not be able to get to town that day, so he is working to appear before the board in September.

The rental of the home is not a detriment to the neighborhood according to West.

“I think it has been just fine,” West said. “ I don’t think it’s much different than anybody else who rents out to somebody for a young married couple or a college student.”

West said he has the opportunity to be even more selective of who stays at the home, whether it is based on timing or the guests themselves.

He said he has no clue how his appearance is going to work out, but is hoping for the best.

Melissa Sanders, planning and zoning administrator for the City of Troy, said any request that comes before the board of adjustments also serves as a public hearing for citizens.

Because the home is in low-residential (R1) zoning, West would need permission from the board to rent his home out for short-term use.

Certain residential zones such as reserved residential (RR) and high-density residential (R3) have provisions built in that could allow short-term rental on appeal.

No such provision is included in R1 zoning or medium-residential (R2) zoning, and the use is not listed in the permitted uses section of the ordinance.

City officials are in the process of researching how other cities have handled similar short-term rental homes as more of these types of businesses are established in Troy. There are currently at least four homes on Troy listed on the Airbnb site. Three of those are downtown, where short-term lodging is allowed, and another home on Trojan Way received special allowance to serve as a short-term rental and event venue in 2014.