Orange Beach discusses vacation rental change

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 3/29/18

The Orange Beach City Council heard public input to a change in the definition and allowance of vacation rentals at its most recent meeting.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing and …

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Orange Beach discusses vacation rental change

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The Orange Beach City Council heard public input to a change in the definition and allowance of vacation rentals at its most recent meeting.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing and considered this application to amend the zoning ordinance to define and regulate hosted accommodations, non-hosted accommodations and vacation rentals at its regular meeting in February 2018. The Planning Commission gave the amendment a positive recommendation with a vote of 8-0.

The amendment to Section 2.02 will add the definition of vacation rental to the Zoning Ordinance. The definition will mirror the definition proposed for the License Ordinance. The definition will include single-family dwellings and two-family dwellings/duplexes constructed for occupancy where the owner or authorized lessee offers hosted and non-hosted accommodations for a duration of 14 consecutive days or less and does not include accessory structures (garage, storage sheds)

It would permit vacation rentals in the following zoning districts: RM-1, RM-2, BR, MHP, NB, MR, GB, RVP, AG and prohibit vacation rentals in the following zoning districts: RS, MHS, RO, I-1, GOV

Section 5.2704 will allow the legal nonconformity to stand unless:

(1) Ownership of the property changes

(2) Structure is substantially damaged

(3) Expansion in the number of sleeping rooms or increase in the floor area of the existing sleeping rooms

Resident Helen Clark spoke to the council about her concern with planned unit developments, specifically one planned next to the Bear Point community.

“It says in a residential PUD, they may be allowed unless expressly prohibited in the approved master plan,” Clark said. “As you know, we’ve been caught up at the zoning commission level with Blackburn PUD going in a residential area. My concern is that they’re asking for a PUD. They took out the rentals because so many people were against it, but they are going to come back and ask for rentals again. So. we’re going to have to really stay on top of it to get that language in the master plan.”

Mayor Tony Kennon expressed his and the council’s commitment to not upzone residentially- zoned properties to greater use than single-family use.

“It is my opinion that a PUD that becomes a vacation rental is a quasi de facto hotel, and that is an upzoning,” Kennon said. “That is a higher and greater use and intensity. I don’t intend for PUDs that intensify the use of a residential zone. There might be a compromise between a number of short-term rentals and a reduced number of homes and covenants that say that all out versus a by-right build of a greater number of homes. A PUD is designed to be a better choice than anything else for that propoerty.”

The City Council opted to wait two week until the ordinance’s second read on April 3 to vote on the measure.

Approved at the council meeting were:

-Appointing Councilman Jeff Boyd as a voting delegate for the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Convention and the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation Annual Membership Meeting to be held in Birmingham May 19-22.

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a Pipeline Right-of-Way Contract with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to obtain access to the State Highway 161 right-of-way for maintenance of sanitary and storm sewers.

-Resolution authorizing the execution of a task order with Sawgrass Consulting, LLC, to provide design and permitting services for shoreline protection in an amount not to exceed $23,000.

- Resolution authorizing the execution of a task order with Sawgrass Consulting, LLC, to provide survey and design services for the widening of Lee Avenue in an amount not to exceed $13,850.

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a Change Order with McElhenney Construction Company, LLC, for Art Center Site Improvements in an amount not to exceed $5,786.67.

-Resolution authorizing the purchase of a 15-Passenger Van for the Adult Activity Center through the National Joint Purchasing Alliance in the amount of $35,668. 

-Resolution awarding the bid for a Turnout Gear Washer and Dryer for the Fire Department to Laundry South Systems & Repair, LLC, in the amount of $15,485.25.

-Resolution authorizing the execution of a Grant Award Agreement with the Birmingham Audubon Society for the Alabama Coastal Bird Stewardship Program.

-Resolution approving settlement of the SE Property Holdings, LLC et al. V. City of Orange Beach lawsuit and authorizing the Mayor to execute settlement documents.