by Jackie Nunnery
LANCASTER—In response to a growing number of resident complaints, the Lancaster planning commission on Thursday, August 18, discussed possible revisions to the county’s short-term rental (STR) ordinance adopted in 2018.
According to county administrator Don Gill, when the county adopted the ordinance “it did so under the code of ordinances and did not address the short-term rentals in the zoning ordinance.” The ordinance limited stays to less than 30 consecutive days, required annual registration and a fee of $50, and a $500 fee for failing to register. At the same time, the board also adopted a 2% transient occupancy tax for stays within the county. Because there was no related land use or zoning ordinance for STRs, there were no limits on where or how these could occur, though several homeowners associations in the region have or are considering prohibiting the practice.
“The initial registry in 2018 contained 10 short-term rentals on it,” Gill said. “Now, the last count was 52 and that is just in the county jurisdiction and does not include the incorporated towns. When the board adopted this in 2018, I don’t think that anyone thought the number would take off like it has.” Gill added that there may be more.”These are just the ones that have come forth voluntarily” or have been identified by the county on short-term rental sites.
While the number of STRs has grown, so too have the problems. “We’ve been getting a lot of complaints, mainly about parties, noise, number of people, trespassing, things of that nature….
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