City of Columbus plans to regulate Airbnb, short-term rentals

City of Columbus plans to regulate Airbnb, short-term rentals
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More and more people are shopping online to find a place to stay when they visit the fountain city.

With the growing popularity of rental sites like Airbnb, a Columbus city council member is looking for a way to regulate these homes where you can enjoy an overnight stay.

"It is popular, a lot of people say, oh Columbus? You would be surprised at the amount of people coming here and where and why they are coming," Lyman said.

Haley Lyman is a short term rental consultant for some Airbnb properties in Columbus. She says these getaways offer a one of a kind local experience.

"In a sense, it's honestly selling people on Columbus," says Lyman.

Numerous people pile into the fountain city on a regular basis, whether it's for a graduation or to raft on the river, however, she says these properties don't exactly sit in the mix with your average hotel.

"We want to make it an even playing field obviously we want to pay our fair share and do what we have to do whether that be business permits or paying an occupancy tax, but at the same time we aren't doing the same value," Jones said.

Columbus Director of Planning Rick Jones says if you check the Airbnb website there are about 70 units to rent in the Columbus area -scattered throughout the city, and with these come some issues the city is trying to tackle.

"Impact of the neighborhood, the traffic, noise, those kind of things that come about," Jones said.

The city ordinance in the works could potentially come with a tax or fee for these properties but it is still in the early works.

"I think those kinds of things can live conducively in the neighborhood but we have to be careful about that."

City planners hope to have the ordinance together in 45 days or less and present it to the city council.

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