DC Council Chair Applies for Short-Term Rental Zoning Amendment

  • July 29th 2019

by Nena Perry-Brown

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An Airbnb in Georgetown.

Eight months ago, the DC Council passed a bill regulating short-term rentals around the city. Now, two months before the bill is scheduled for implementation, the Council is nudging the Zoning Commission to amend how the zoning code treats short-term rentals in order to prevent the unintentional removal of hundreds of units from the short-term market.

Council Chair Phil Mendelson filed a zoning application on Monday proposing a text amendment that would permit short-term rental uses in residential zones. The current zoning regulations outlaw short-term rental units in residential zones, and while enforcement of this prohibition seems to have been lax over the years, the Council sent the Commission a letter last October requesting a text amendment which would permit home-sharing in residential zones. While ZC then requested guidance from the Office of Planning (OP) on the matter, seemingly little has happened since. 

"The Office of Planning has yet to issue the report requested by the Zoning Commission," Mendelson's application states, also noting OP recently declining to offer a timeframe for that guidance. "The District of Columbia Council is now seeking to initiate the text case by submitting this formal request to amend the text of the Zoning Regulations to permit short-term rentals in residential zone districts when the property is the host’s primary residence."

As submitted, Mendelson's application would add a definition for short-term rentals, separate from lodging use, to the zoning code and clarifies that short-term rentals may be incorporated into primary residences.

The Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act grants the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs authority over the short-term rental industry and require hosts to acquire permits for these rentals, enabling hosts to list any number of rentals in their primary residences for an unlimited number of days while the host is present and no more than 90 days when they are not.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc-council-chair-applies-for-zoning-text-amendment-for-short-term-rentals/15718.

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