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DC Council Requests Zoning Change to Reflect Reality of Short-Term Rentals

by Nena Perry-Brown

In the midst of debate last week regarding a bill on short-term rental regulations, DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson shared the Council's plans to request that the Zoning Commission amend the zoning code to permit short-term rentals in residential zones. That letter has now been submitted.

"The Chief Financial Officer [CFO] estimates that bill 22-92 will cost $23-25 million annually in lost revenue," the letter states. "Some of this loss is due to other restrictions in the bill before the Council. But 80-90 percent of it is due to Zoning prohibitions on homesharing by homeowners. It is imperative — both to the city's finances and the need for a viable regulatory scheme, that the Zoning Regulations be revised."

The zoning issue has been raised intermittently throughout the debate over short-term rental regulations in DC, with Greater Greater Washington pointing out that enforcement of the zoning regulations triggered by passage of the bill would precipitate a much larger impact on the market than the substance of the bill itself.

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) would be tasked with oversight of the city's home-sharing market if the bill passes. DCRA would not be able to issue licenses legitimizing short-term rentals in residential zones because it is not permitted under the current zoning regulations. 

Every Councilmember signed the letter, which will be considered by the Zoning Commission early next week. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc-council-requests-zoning-changes-to-reflect-reality-of-short-term-rentals/14613

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