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Wendell opts not to regulate Airbnbs

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WENDELL — A divided board of commissioners Monday voted not to adopt new regulations that would have limited what areas of town short-term home rentals such as Airbnbs would be allowed.

The 3-2 vote means that short-term whole-house rentals remain unregulated and permitted in almost all homes in town.

Commissioner Jason Joyner, who voted with the majority against the regulation, called the proposal “a solution in search of a problem.” He said he worried about regulating the short-term housing market out of existence before it had a chance to grow in town.

“It’s not a thing that exists right now,” Joyner said. “It’s not a problem we have right now.”

The regulation would have limited such home rentals to houses within some residential zones or within 200 feet of certain commercial zones. It would have also defined bed and breakfast ins as well as homestay rentals and refined how those types of rentals are regulated.

It was a watered-down version of regulations proposed by town staff last month. Those regulations would have also required homeowners to submit a compliance form to the town before renting and would have prohibited certain events from taking place inside the rentals.

The new regulations were seen as a compromise between the more strict regulations and the existing ordinances that did not regulate the rentals.

Commissioners Jon Lutz and Ben Carroll voted in favor of the new regulations. John Boyette and David Myrick joined Joyner in opposition.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the purchase of a leaf vacuum truck for $190,000.

• Rezoned 2.7 acres on Marshburn Road from Rural Agriculture to Highway Commercial.

• Waived the community center rental fee for the East Wake Alumni Association to hold a scholarship fundraiser Sept. 28.