Editorial: Treat a business like a business | Opinion

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It’s safe to say that short-term rentals are in Pinehurst’s genes. James W. Tufts founded the village 127 years ago as a seasonal resort. Most people came to escape the grime and dirt of the Northeast to enjoy the pine-scented air and modest winters.

Many things have changed during this period. Pinehurst is, of course, now the largest municipality in Moore County with over 17,000 full-time residents. And that one seasonal recovery resort is now a huge industrial golf complex with 13 traditional courses, hundreds of hotel rooms and, soon, a second headquarters for the US Golf Association.

As an iconic golf destination for visitors from around the world, Pinehurst can never hope to accommodate everyone who comes on holiday. As such, it requires short-term private rental accommodation. It’s always been that way and there’s no sense that’s going to change any time soon.

That said, there is something Pinehurst can do to impose a bit of structure and oversight on the matter, which would help address the concerns of owners upset about suddenly living next to a mini-hotel.

The issue of short-term rentals is not just about a few properties scattered around the village. The volume of single-family homes available for vacation rental has exploded in recent years with the rise of this niche. Indeed, international hotel companies are even getting into buying some branded residential properties in some markets and marketing them for “concierge” services.

Data shared with Pinehurst Village Council showed that there are currently at least 368 short-term rental units in Pinehurst, an increase of 75% from 2020. Estate agents talk about people and businesses who buy homes specifically for short-term rentals.

Pinehurst Village Council has undertaken a plan to review the issue and develop guidelines. It features 11 “goals and indicators for success” provided by city planner Darryn Burich, with the aim, he says, of “maintaining the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods and ensuring that the impact of short-term rental properties term is as similar as is practically possible to the impact of long-term residential properties.

These guidelines address everything from overnight parking to the impact on property values ​​and the fact that “traditional neighborhoods remain predominantly occupied by long-term residents and do not create the look or ‘feel’ of destinations. tourism”.

“We have to accept that short-term rentals are going to be part of Pinehurst,” Village Manager Jeff Sanborn said, “and what we want to aspire to is a regulatory system as best we can.”

New board member Jeff Morgan may have the right view: “I want to get away from the ‘yes or no’ idea about short-term rentals. Look at the goals. How do we work on this and how do we come to a compromise that will improve quality of life and maximize our goals? »

Answer: Address head-on the fact that short-term rentals are a business and should be regulated as such. If you are going to operate a short-term rental, you should be subject to many of the same terms as a conventional hotel or resort room.

There should be occupancy limits based on the bedrooms in the house; parking restrictions that limit vehicles to the entrance of a home; county health inspectorates, with grades to be posted; compliance with fire safety codes; and full collection and remittance of local occupancy taxes.

Violations would be reported by neighbors and investigated by code enforcement and security officials.

Intrusive? If you plan to run a hotel from a home, you must comply with all aspects that any similar business would comply with. This ensures that short-term rentals continue but are safe, to reasonable standards and not a burden on those around them.

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