Starkville leaders host public meeting regarding Airbnb regulations

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Regulating AIRBNBs and Short-term rentals– It’s a hot topic in Starkville.

Starkville City leaders heard a variety of opinions at a public meeting about short-term rental regulations.

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Those against the regulation say some of the new rules are an invasion of privacy.

“There are some acceptable things. I think it’s ok to register AirBNB’s and short term rentals– there’s no issue with that. Notifying neighbors within a hundred and sixty feet. We’re not sex offenders. We don’t have to notify neighbors that we’re here,” said Airbnb owner Dorothy Watson.

The regulations are also a cause of concern for other business owners, like Dede Carter, who owns a local cleaning service.

“If the regulation goes in force, then there will be limits on the amounts of time that these will be used as AIRBNBs during the course of the year, which will limit the amount of times myself as a service owner, and others as service owners, can go in and do our jobs. Thus, what it will do is limit income. It will affect our employment statuses. If they don’t have jobs, less income means less job means less revenue coming back into our city overall,” said Carter.

Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty said the influx of Airbnbs and short-term rentals could affect property values.

“That takes housing stock out of the market. Starkville is a good real estate town and prices are high here anyway, but that pushes it to the point where it might price out first-time families and people trying to buy that first time house,” said Beatty.

Even though opinions differed and, at times, tensions were high, most agreed that the meeting was productive.

“I thought it was a very productive meeting. People had the chance to express their opinions,” said Beatty.

“I believe voices were heard that have not been heard before, and I also think that it has brought about and objective of opinion,” said Carter.

Another public hearing regarding the issue of short-term rental regulation will be held on December 3.

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